South32 has entered an earn-in agreement with Hammer Metals, providing the opportunity to acquire an 80% interest in the Isa Valley Project, part of Hammer’s Mount Isa Project in North-West Queensland.

The agreement outlines a joint venture formation upon completion of specific exploration milestones.

Isa Valley Project, identified as EPM28189, spans 321km2 and is situated 60km south of Mount Isa. It is a portion of Hammer’s 2,800km2 holdings in the region.

South32 can secure up to an 80% stake by funding Hammer through to the completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS).

The earn-in is structured in three stages.

In Stage 1, South32 is to fund initial exploration, including ionic leach soil sampling and field assessment, with costs estimated between A$20,000 and A$25,000, to be completed within six months.

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Stage 2, contingent on South32’s decision, involves funding a 900-metre drilling programme, capped at A$150,000, within 12 months of initiation.

Stage 3 requires South32 to fund A$3m in exploration over three years, with an option to extend by one year and increase funding to A$4m.

Completion of this stage grants South32 a 70% interest, leading to the joint venture’s formation.

An additional 10% interest is attainable by solely funding a Pre-Feasibility Study, increasing South32’s stake to 80%.

The initial exploration will concentrate on ionic leach soil sampling along the Mount Isa fault structure, aiming to uncover mineralisation from the underlying Mt Isa Group Sediments.

Hammer will also continue exploration across its wholly-owned and joint venture properties, including a diamond drilling programme at the Hardway copper/rare earth element prospect.

This agreement marks Hammer’s fifth partnership in the region, with existing joint ventures with Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania, Mount Isa Mines, Carnaby Resources, and Kabiri.