Newmont Ventures, part of US-based mining firm Newmont, has agreed to make a strategic investment in junior mining company Awalé Resources.

Awalé will receive $500,000 in investment pursuant to a private placement. Newmont will hold a 10.49% stake in Awalé post-completion of the investment.

The junior miner plans to use these proceeds to fund the activities at the Côte d’Ivoire project, which currently has two primary targets including the gold-rich Empire corridor and the Sceptre Iron Oxide Copper Gold target.

Furthermore, Newmont Ventures agreed to sign an exploration agreement with a venture option on Awalé’s Odienné Project in north-west Côte d’Ivoire.

Newmont Ventures will also make staged exploration funding of up to $15m to earn a stake of up to 75% in the Odienné Project.

Under the initial phase, Newmont will fund $5m in exploration expenditures to earn a 51% interest in the Odienné Project within three years from the exploration agreement.

Newmont will make additional funding of $10m in exploration expenditure and define a minimum 2Moz gold resource under the second phase to earn a further 14% interest in the project.

An exclusive option agreement will then be signed by Newmont for an additional 10% interest in the Odienné Project. If the option is exercised, Newmont’s interest in the project will be 75%.

The investment is subject to certain closing conditions, including the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Awalé Resources CEO Glen Parsons said: “We have always considered Odienné has the potential to produce a Tier One asset which, based on work performed to date, is now supported by Newmont through this transaction.

“The setting of the Odienné Project has striking similarities to major copper-gold producing districts such as the Carajás and Olympic Dam Iron Oxide Copper Gold provinces in South America and Australia.

“The 5km-long Sceptre Cu-Au IOCG anomaly provides Awalé an excellent starting point and places us in a unique position to be drill testing targets that have Tier One potential.”