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OZ Minerals has signed an earn-in agreement with Avrupa Minerals for Alvito copper-gold exploration project in southern Portugal.

The exploration will target a 24km long copper-in-soil anomaly at the Alvito site.

OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said: “Portugal is part of a growing exploration pipeline. Our international exploration approach is unchanged from Australia: working with good partners, being prepared to look afresh at prospective projects and making decisions to stay or exit early based on the future value we see in a project.”

Under the agreement, OZ Minerals can secure 51% interest in the tenement by spending a minimum of A$1m on exploration in the first year.

It can earn an additional 24% interest in the property by investing further $3m on exploration by 23 September 2019.

OZ Minerals stated that historical exploration in the Alvito region was largely affected due to regional magnetite alteration and by a thin layer of transported cover at the surface. 

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OZ Minerals aims to leverage its experience of exploring beneath cover to develop a range of drill targets.

According to the initial assessments at the property, the targets are located close to the surface for potential open-pit mining.

“Under the agreement, OZ Minerals can secure 51% interest in the tenement by spending a minimum of A$1m on exploration in the first year."

Avrupa and partners previously invested more than €450,000 on the licence and developed a central IOCG target area.

Initial surface sampling by Avrupa returned multiple samples with copper grades in excess of 1% Cu and 1g/t Au.

A 29-hole drilling programme carried out in 2015 targeted the top of basement and found copper mineralisation associated with magnetite veins and alteration consistent with an IOCG system.

An exploration programme overseen by OZ Minerals will begin next quarter with a drilling programme to be managed by Avrupa’s geological team in Portugal scheduled to begin by mid-2017.

Image: Miners at OZ Minerals' project. Photo: courtesy of OZ Minerals.