US gold and copper producer Newmont Mining and Canadian firm Agnico Eagle have formed a 50-50 joint venture (JV) in Colombia to explore the Mid-Cauca belt, in the country’s northwest.

Operated by Agnico Eagle, the JV will explore the Anzá project as well as advance other gold targets of “district-scale” potential in Colombia.

The Anzá project comprises exploration concessions and concession applications, covering more than 200km2 area in the Mid-Cauca belt.

It is 50km west of Medellin and 60km south from Chinese firm Zijin Mining’s Buriticá project.

In July last year, South American-focused gold development and exploration company Orosur Mining started exploration activities at the Anzá project. The activities at the project site were initiated as part of an agreement with venture option with Newmont ’s subsidiary Newmont Colombia.

Newmont president and CEO Tom Palmer said: “We are excited to partner with Agnico Eagle to further advance exploration opportunities in this highly prospective region in Colombia.

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“Our companies share similar views of safe and responsible mining practices with proven expertise in Greenfields exploration areas.”

According to the companies, Agnico will sole fund the JV until it equals the US producer’s previous investment in the Anza project of about $2.9m.

After that, the two companies will continue funding exploration activities on an equal basis.

Agnico Eagle Exploration senior vice-president Guy Gosselin said: “Historical work on the project indicates the potential for various styles of mineralization, including porphyry, epithermal and VMS.

“Agnico Eagle has been actively looking at Colombia for some time, and this low-cost entry is consistent with our exploration strategy and existing investment in Royal Road Minerals.”

Last week, Newmont signed a definitive agreement to sell a portfolio of 11 pre-production royalties to precious metals royalty and streaming company Maverix Metals.