Rio Tinto has signed a farm-in agreement with Tali Resources, a unit of Agrimin, to acquire the latter’s stake in five exploration prospective copper-gold tenements in Western Australia.

As per the farm-in and joint-venture deal with Agrimin’s 40%-owned unit Tali, Rio Tinto will acquire up to a 75% stake in the five tenements located in the West Arunta and Madura regions of the state.

The tenements are prospective for iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) mineralisation.

The agreement, however, excludes Agrimin’s tenements and does not cover any areas associated with the company’s Mackay Potash project.

Agrimin CEO Mark Savich said: “It is pleasing to see a major mining company such as Rio Tinto commit to exploring on Kiwirrkurra lands within the West Arunta region through its farm-in agreement with Tali.

“We look forward to the commencement of their exploration as well as the prospect of new opportunities being created for the Kiwirrkurra community.”

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The agreement will be implemented in three stages. Under the first stage, Rio Tinto can earn an initial 51% joint venture interest in the tenements by sole funding exploration expenditure of $3m.

Subject to the satisfaction of stage 1, Rio Tinto can earn an additional 14% joint venture interest in the tenements by sole funding exploration expenditure of an additional $5.5m.

Within the next four years, the company will also complete a total of 7,000m of diamond and/or RC drilling in the tenements.

The final stage will add a further 10% stake to Rio Tinto’s earnings but is dependent on the success of the prospects.