Highlands Pacific has agreed to transfer management of the Star Mountains exploration project in the West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Anglo American, which has spent $25m on the project since 2015.
The project is a joint venture (JV) between the parties.
Under the terms of the JV agreement signed last year, Anglo American earned the rights to acquire a 51% interest in the project by paying $10m to Highlands.
The acquisition of the interest was agreed to be exercised in a phased manner, with a 15% interest accruable to Anglo American, after it spends $25m within the first four years.
Remaining 36% can be secured upon the discovery of an NI43-101/JORC compliant inferred resource of three million tonnes of contained copper equivalent within a period of five years.
Now that Anglo American has invested the requisite $25m towards project expenditure, it will be handed over the management of the project, in addition to 15% ownership interest.
Highlands Pacific CEO Craig Lennon said: “Exploration is advancing steadily and drilling results continue to suggest the tenements may host a large copper porphyry that could ultimately underpin a significant copper and gold mining project.”
Over recent years, several drilling campaigns have been completed at the Star Mountains project, with the latest programme taken up in October last year with funding from Anglo American.
The current campaign completed five holes, while additional holes are expected to be drilled by the end of next month.
Under the JV agreement, Anglo American can further increase its interest in the JV to 80% subject to completing a bankable feasibility study by 2030.
Spanning 675km² and located 25km from Tabubil, the Star Mountains exploration tenements comprise Nong River EL1312, Mt Scorpion EL1781, Munbil EL2001, Tifalmin EL1392, and Mt Abemh EL2467.