BHP has signed an agreement with Canada’s Mundoro Capital to earn-in to three exploration areas in the Serbian Timok region through a wholly-owned subsidiary.
This move forms part of BHP’s efforts to focus on future-facing commodities, including copper, nickel and potash, reported Miningweekly.com.
The porphyry copper projects included in the deal are the Borsko Jezero Project, South Timok property and Trstenik exploration area.
These properties are located in and around the Timok Magmatic Complex, which holds the largest copper-gold porphyry deposits in the western portion of the Tethyan Belt.
The Timok region has been a mining district for more than 100 years and is anticipated to hold approximately four billion tons in porphyry systems across five known mines.
Under the deal, BHP holds the right to earn a 100% interest in each relevant Timok Property by making cash payments of about $1.7m as well as operator payments to Mundoro over a period of three years.
BHP will also incur $7.5m in exploration expenditures across the three properties within three years.
The deal also includes a commitment for exploration expenditure related to drilling at the properties by March 2023.
In a press statement, Mundoro said: “BHP may exercise each Option independently or elect to extend each Option by one year by making additional Payments and incurring additional exploration expenditures.”
Upon the exercising of each option, Mundoro will retain a 2% net smelter return (NSR) royalty on that property.
Mundoro CEO, president and director Teo Dechev said: “Mundoro welcomes BHP as an exploration partner that recognises the potential of further exploration in the western Tethyan Belt.”
Dechev said that the firm plans to start field exploration at the Timok Properties to advance targeting and testing of both undercover and near-surface porphyry and related epithermal systems.
Mundoro chief geologist Dr Richard Jemeilita said: “The Timok Properties represent a district scale, attractive exploration package in this prospective mineral belt in Serbia.
“Our exploration team in the region has identified, in the South Timok Properties exploration area, extending south from the Timok Magmatic Complex, continuation of fertile geological units for further copper exploration.”