Discovery Metals has signed a new joint venture (JV) agreement with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and BCL for its Dikoloti nickel project in Botswana.

The Dikoloti project features three prospecting licences that surround three BCL nickel deposits in north-east Botswana.

JOGMEC has increased its interest in the project to 72% after acquiring an initial 60% in 2009.

Under the terms of the new agreement, BCL is granted the exclusive right to acquire a 51% interest in the project, if the company is able to convert the current prospecting licences into mining licences under Botswana law, by 31 December.

The participating interests will then be reduced to 35.3% for JOGMEC and 13.7% for Discovery Metals, and BCL will act as the operator of the new JV.

The three JV parties will thereafter continue with exploration works, each taking responsibility for funding the work on a pro rata basis.

The Dikoloti project currently hosts an inferred resource of 4.1 million tonnes (Mt) at 0.7% nickel, 0.5% copper and 1.2g per tonne of platinum group metals, at a cut-off of 0.5% nickel for 28,700t of contained nickel.

Discovery Metals said the new JV underscores the potential value of the Dikoloti project, which is its first development in Botswana.

BCL owns and operates a nickel-copper mine and smelter located in the Selebi-Phikwe town, which lies about 410km north of Gaborone, Botswana.

The mine’s annual production is 2.8Mt of ore, with the smelter operating since 1980 at an annual rate of around 50,000t of a nickel copper matte.

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