Australia's Raiden, Rio Tinto sign $31.5 mln JV deal in Serbia

Australia's Raiden, Rio Tinto sign $31.5 mln JV deal in Serbia Source: Rio Tinto

BELGRADE (Serbia), March 13 (SeeNews) - Australian mining group Raiden Resources said on Tuesday it entered into a $31.5 million (25.5 million euro) earn-in and joint venture (JV) agreement regarding three of its copper and gold exploration licences in Serbia with Rio Tinto.

The agreement provides Rio Tinto with the option to spend up to $31.5 million to earn up to a 75% project-level interest of the Zapadni Majdanpek, Majdanpek Pojas and Donje Nevlje licenses in the prolific Western Tethyan Metallogenic Belt in Serbia, Raiden Resources said in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Rio Tinto will be able to gain a 51% participating interest in the licenses for $2.5 million in a period of three years under stage one of the agreement. The company will be able to earn a 14% interest for $9 million in the three-year period after stage one and additional 10% stake for $20 million in the three-year period after stage two, Raiden Resources said.

"In our opinion, this validates the prospectivity of our licences and we look forward to working closely with the Rio team and realising the potential of the JV properties. It also enables us to focus on exploration in our retained licences to rapidly deploy our planned exploration programme," the executive director of Raiden Resources, Dusko Ljubojevic, said in the statement.

The licences are located within the prolific Western Tethyan metallogenic belt and the exploration targets are for copper-gold porphyry and related mineralisation. The Majdanpek West and Majdanpek Pojas licenses are located within the northern section of the Timok Magmatic Complex, in the Serbian section of the East European Carpathian-Balkan Arc.

The Timok Magmatic Complex is one of the most copper endowed districts in the entire belt. The mineralisation is hosted within a porphyry and epithermal geological setting, which intruded into Cretaceous volcanic and volcanoclastic units.

Rio Tinto discovered a world-class lithium-borate deposit in the valley of the Jadar river in Serbia in 2004. The company has said it plans to start production in 2023, assuming that feasibility studies confirm viability and all necessary approvals are obtained.

The Jadar lithium borate discovery in Serbia is estimated at 135.7 million tonnes with a weighted average concentration of 1.86% of lithium oxide (Li2O), representing one of the largest lithium deposits in the world.

($ = 0.8106 euro)

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