Ormonde Mining and Antofagasta have signed a joint venture agreement for exploration on Ormonde’s La Zarza ground holdings located in southern Spain’s Huelva province.

Initial activity in the La Zarza joint venture will begin immediately and entails a combination of geophysical and geological surveys to improve target selection for a follow-up drilling programme slated for the New Year.

Junior mining company Ormonde’s managing director Kerr Anderson said there are several exploration targets at the La Zarza massive sulphide deposit with considerable potential for further copper mineralisation.

The key investment terms of the agreement include copper miner Antofagasta extending Ormonde’s earlier exploration to cover the 3km-long La Zarza sulphide deposit, and to assess the deposit’s potential for hosting bigger copper mineralisation resources.

Antofagasta is entitled to earn a 51% stake in La Zarza over a three-year time period by shelling out $7m on these extended exploration programmes and consequent assessment work, with a $1m minimum commitment in the initial year.

Provided the earn-in is complete, Antofagasta is then entitled to raise its stake in La Zarza to 75% by the conclusion of a feasibility study on a mining project that satisfies its investment requirements.