Australian explorer Intrepid has signed an agreement to allow Brazilian mining giant Vale to take a majority stake in its Tujuh Bukit sulphide copper-gold project in Indonesia.

Under the agreement, Vale subsidiary Vale Exploration could earn a 60% shareholding in the joint venture company that operates the project by investing $40m.

Intrepid and its partner PT Indo Multi Niaga will retain the remaining 40% in the project.

Intrepid and PT Indo Multi Niaga will retain sole rights to the oxide gold-silver deposit, which sits above the sulphide copper-gold deposit.

The deal is a significant achievement for Intrepid and a major step forward in delivering on a strategy to become a significant mid-tier Australian gold mining company, the company said in a statement.

According to Intrepid’s preliminary work, Tujuh Bukit project provides scope for two distinct projects: an oxide gold-silver project, with an estimated 2.57 million ounces of gold equivalent resources and a sulphide copper-gold porphyry and high-sulphidation ore body.