American Pacific Mining (APM) has announced the termination of the earn-in deal with Rio Tinto unit Kennecott Exploration for the Madison Mine project in the US state of Montana.

This development results in APM regaining full ownership and control of Madison, which is now the company’s primary solely owned asset.

The Madison project, known for its small-scale production, which ended in 2012, produced 2.7 million pounds of copper with high-grade concentrations.

It has a history of high-grade copper and gold production, with drilling in 2017 revealing significant mineralisation.

One notable drill hole, C17-24, reached a depth of 377m and intersected altered latite porphyry material at 301m, indicating potential for further exploration.

Despite abandoning the agreement that allowed Kennecott to earn up to 70% of Madison, APM plans to move forward with the 2024 drill programme, together with Kennecott.

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The upcoming 2024 drill programme is strategically designed to target areas within the skarn to confirm and expand upon the mineralisation found in historical drilling.

Additionally, the programme includes plans for one to two shallow drill holes in a regional target area that has not been tested since the completion of geophysical surveys.

This approach aims to further understand the extent of mineralisation and enhance the project’s value.

APM CEO Warwick Smith said: “We would have naturally liked to see the partnership continue with Rio funding exploration more aggressively, but given the dynamics of the underlying option term and Rio’s broader corporate priorities, regaining 100% control of the Madison Project is a positive development, as it provides American Pacific with an excellent opportunity to advance the project more rapidly with shareholders now having 100% exposure to new drill results and project success.

“We recently collaborated to define a series of shallow priority targets and have a permitted drill programme targeting high-grade copper and gold that American Pacific plans to commence as soon as weather permits.”

In January 2020, APM signed a letter of intent to buy Broadway Gold’s stake in the Madison project.