A Canadian Subsidiary of BHP Billiton has signed a letter of intent (LoI) to fund exploration at Aston Bay’s Storm copper project located on the northwest corner of Somerset Island, Nunavut.

Under the terms of the deal, BHP could earn a 75% interest in the project, if it spends a minimum of C$40m ($28.4m) on exploration within nine years of signing an agreement.

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For four years from the date of signing the agreement, Aston Bay need not to bear any exploration expenses.

The agreement, which is being discussed, is expected to conclude during the second quarter of 2016.

"This new partnership is a testament to the exploration potential at the Storm copper project."

Aston Bay and Commander Resources have also signed an agreement in December 2015 to consolidate ownership of the original core land holdings in the Storm copper property, which also includes the Seal Zinc prospect.

Upon completion of the agreement, Aston Bay will own a 100% interest in the original core land holdings for the property.

Aston Bay CEO Benjamin Cox said: "This new partnership is a testament to the exploration potential at the Storm copper project.

"Our agreement with BHP Billiton will advance the Storm copper project without significant equity dilution for Aston Bay’s shareholders, leaving Aston Bay with a meaningful interest in the project.

"BHP Billiton brings technical depth and expertise to the project and we are eager to begin exploring the property with their exploration group."

The project covers a 100km-plus strike length of mineralised showings within stratigraphy favourable for sediment-hosted copper mineralisation.