OZ Minerals has signed a new exploration earn-in agreement  with Acapulco Gold, targeting three newly identified, high-base metal prospects in Oaxaca, Southern Mexico.

OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said: “The sites we are targeting have potential for shallow, high-value per tonne, volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) deposits. VHMS deposits are significant contributors to the global production of copper, zinc, lead and silver.

“Although there are positive geological indicators, the sites have not had modern mining exploration techniques undertaken. They are, however, located near excellent road and port infrastructure.”

The company will fund first-year, in-ground expenditure of $450,000 on detailed geological mapping, geochemistry, and geophysics.

The three sites include Zaachila, Riqueza Marina, and Zapotitlán.

Zaachila Project contains outcrops of massive silica-iron exhalite and pillow basalt, which is typical of many VHMS deposits. Historical sampling work shows highly anomalous geochemical values for copper, gold, silver, barium and iron.

"Under the earn-in, OZ Minerals can earn up to a 78% stake in the properties by spending $6.8m over six years."

Riqueza Marina Project has a suite of bimodal volcanic rocks, including an interpreted felsic dome and contains outcropping silica-iron exhalite. Limited historical surface geochemistry has indicated anomalous copper, zinc, gold, barium, manganese and iron.

Zapotitlán Project is an early stage exploration development, where reconnaissance mapping has outlined a magnetite and copper-bearing alteration zone of approximately 700m by 300m.

Under the earn-in, OZ Minerals can earn up to a 78% stake in the properties by spending $6.8m over six years.

Exploration will begin immediately, with drilling expected to begin in the second half of the current year.

Costs incurred are within the $10m-$15m 2017 exploration expenditure guidance already provided.

Over the last 18 months, the company has put in-place eight separate exploration earn-in agreements with different explorers. It works with its earn-in partners to oversee projects while they manage on the ground activities. The company is a copper-focused company based in South Australia and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.