Rio Tinto has earned a 51% interest in Antipa Minerals’ Citadel gold-copper project 400 kilometers (km) east of Port Hedland, Western Australia. The companies have formed a joint-venture company to develop the project, with Rio Tinto as operator.

Rio Tinto earned its 51% interest by funding A$11 million in exploration of the project. The company had until January 30 to elect whether to sole fund an additional A$14 million within three years to increase its interest in the joint venture to 65%.

The Citadel project comprises a 1,330-km2 tenement package in the Paterson province in northern Western Australia, 5 km east of Rio Tinto’s Winu copper-gold-silver deposit. The Citadel project hosts a current global mineral resource of 63.8 million mt grading 0.8 grams/mt gold and 0.2% copper for 1.6 million ounces (oz) of contained gold and 127,000 mt of contained copper. The deposit remains open in most directions.