Australia’s OZ Minerals has entered into an option agreement to earn a stake in Salta Exploraciones‘ assets in Argentina.

The option agreement enables OZ to earn up to a 75% interest in Salta’s 100%-owned and optioned Centenarito group of claims by incurring $20 million of exploration and paying $650,000 in cash before June 2017.

The zone of interest outcrops and is marked by a prominent high-sulphidation zone with leached cap alteration assemblages. This alteration is believed to be related to an underlying gold-copper bearing porphyry system.

The first option allows the company to acquire a 51% interest by completing a 3,000m core drilling exploration programme at the property and by paying $350,000 to Salta over a two-year period.

The second option allows OZ to purchase a 24% interest by completing an exploration programme estimated to cost $20m under Joint Ore Reserves Committee guidelines. The company would also have to pay $300,000 over a three-year period.

Salta and OZ Minerals plan to form a pro-rata joint venture to continue developing the property if OZ Minerals exercises the second option.