A subsidiary of IGO has signed an agreement with Venus Metals (VMC) to become a joint venture (JV) partner in the Bridgetown Greenbushes exploration project in Western Australia.

According to the agreed terms, the subsidiary has to spend A$6m ($4.16m) on exploration expenditure to acquire up to a 70% of the project.

IGO currently owns a 49% stake in a JV, called Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia, with Tianqi Lithium. This JV holds a 51% stake in the Greenbushes lithium mine in Western Australia.

The Bridgetown Greenbushes project is located in close proximity to the Greenbushes lithium mine.

Venus Metals managing director Matthew Hogan said: “We are delighted to welcome IGO Limited as a substantial shareholder of the Company.

“IGO Limited’s knowledge and technical expertise regarding LCT pegmatites and Ni-Cu-PGE Sulphide exploration, and development is invaluable for the highly prospective tenement package held by VMC at Bridgetown-Greenbushes next to the World’s lowest cost and highest grade hard rock lithium mine.”

Until the completion of a pre-feasibility study of the Bridgetown Greenbushes project, the IGO subsidiary will fund all the JV expenditure.

After the study is concluded, the IGO subsidiary will be entitled to acquire a 30% stake in the project for a price based on fair market value.

In case the IGO subsidiary does not elect to acquire the stake, the parties will continue to work in an unincorporated JV.

Furthermore, IGO agreed to subscribe to nine million fully paid ordinary shares in Venus Metals, at A$0.23 ($0.16) apiece.

The Bridgetown Greenbushes exploration project comprises the Bridgetown east Ni‐Cu‐PGE and Greenbushes east lithium assets.

The Greenbushes East Lithium and Bridgetown East projects include four granted tenements, including E70/5316, E70/5315, E 70/5620 and E70/5712, and two exploration applications of Venus Metals.