Hammer Metals has signed an earn-in and joint-venture agreement with Newmont Exploration covering the Overlander, Even Steven and Dronfield iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) targets on Hammer’s Mount Isa project in Queensland, Australia. Newmont Exploration is a subsidiary of Newmont Mining; Hammer is an Australian junior company headquartered in Mount Lawley, Western Australia, a suburb of Perth.

The staged agreement provides Newmont with the right to earn 75% in the deposits through project expenditures totaling $10.5 million. Hammer will manage exploration through two initial earn-in stages until Newmont earns a 65% interest through expenditures totaling $4.5 million over a period of four years. If Hammer does not elect to contribute to further expenditure at this point, Newmont can elect to earn up to a 75% interest by funding additional expenditures of $6 million or by completing a feasibility study.

Field work is under way in each of the three prospect areas, focusing on detailed geological and structural mapping, soil and rock chip sampling, and magnetic and gravity geophysical programs. Newmont’s in-house technical input will be utilized in program development and data collection, processing, and analysis. The companies anticipate that drilling will begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Fission Uranium is conducting a C$7.2 million winter exploration program at its Patterson Lake South property in Canada’s Athabasca basin, consisting of 11,800 m of drilling in 35 holes and a 214-line-km airborne HeliSAM MMC survey. The drill program includes 10,000 m of core drilling in 29 holes and 1,800 m of reverse circulation drilling in six holes.

Approximately 55% of the drill-meter budget is targeting resource growth, while 45% is targeting high-priority exploration areas. The drilling is utilizing up to three diamond drill core rigs and two reverse circulation rigs.

The tight-spaced airborne HeliSAM MMC survey is designed to obtain high-resolution geophysical detail of the bedrock within a particularly prospective area of the Patterson Lake conductive corridor, with emphasis on hydrothermal clay alteration and structural controls to mineralization.

Fission’s 2016 winter exploration program follows six prior programs that have delivered a large, shallow-depth, high-grade uranium resource now known as the Triple R deposit. The diamond drill contract has been awarded to Bryson Drilling of Archeville, Saskatchewan. The reverse circulation contract has been awarded to Northspan Explorations of Kelowna, British Columbia.

Aurion Resources has signed an option agreement with B2Gold granting B2Gold the right to earn up to an undivided 75% interest in an approximately 25,000-ha project area, including the Kutuvuoma and Ahvenjarvi gold exploration projects, in northern Finland. Under the terms of the agreement, B2Gold must complete $5 million in exploration expenditures, pay Aurion $50,000 cash, and issue 550,000 B2Gold shares over four years to earn a 51% interest. B2Gold can earn an additional 19% interest by spending a further $10 million over two years and an additional 5% interest, for a total of 75%, by completing a bankable feasibility study.

“This is a great deal for Aurion and its shareholders,” Aurion President and CEO Mike Basha said. “Despite the negative market sentiment toward mining equities, we have been successful in attracting one of the highest-quality partners in B2Gold. This partnership is a solid endorsement of Aurion’s Finnish exploration initiative.”

Aurion completed a 2015 fall field program focused primarily on the Kutuvuoma and Ahvenjarvi projects. The program was fully funded by B2Gold and comprised mechanical trenching, mapping, prospecting, surface geochemical sampling, and metallurgical testing.

Kennady Diamonds is expanding exploration activity at its Kennady North project 280 km east-northeast of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The project’s camp capacity is being increased from 50 to 150 persons, and a broader range of activities, including core drilling, bulk sampling, environmental studies, and engineering studies, are scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2016.

Construction of the bulk of the project’s ice infrastructure had been completed as of mid-January, including an ice road, ice runway, and ice pads for drilling. Preparations for a 500-mt bulk sample were well advanced, with two large-diameter reverse-circulation drill rigs scheduled to depart Yellowknife for the camp as soon as the main ice road was opened. The bulk sampling is scheduled for completion by the end of March.

A maiden NI 43-101 resource statement for the project’s Kelvin kimberlite is also nearing completion.