Aston Bay Holdings has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with BHP Billiton to advance Aston Bay’s Storm copper project on Somerset Island in the Canadian Arctic. Under the terms of the LOI, BHP Billiton may earn a 75% interest in the project, with a provision in place to convert into a joint-venture agreement.

To earn its 75% interest, BHP Billiton must spend a minimum of C$40 million on exploration at Storm within nine years of the signing of a definitive agreement, including a minimum of C$2.5 million within two years. Aston Bay will have no required exploration expenses for four years from the date of signing of the definitive agreement.

The Storm project is based on stratabound copper mineralization along more than 100 km of strike length of mineralized showings. Copper oxide mineralization is present at surface in the form of malachite, azurite and chalcocite. Malachite and azurite, along with primary hypogene chalcocite and the presence of bornite and chalcopyrite, have been identified at depths of at least 100 m.

Historical drilling focused on mineralized zones cropping out at surface and included intercepts of 110 m of 2.45% copper, 56 m of 3.07% copper, and 49 m of 1.79% copper. Exploration by Aston Bay has identified a number of coincident conductivity and gravity anomalies that are consistent with regional mineralizing processes.

Aston Bay CEO Benjamin Cox said, “We are very pleased to have attracted, as a partner, a top-tier global mining company with a track record of building and operating some of the world’s largest copper mines. This new partnership is a testament to the exploration potential at the Storm copper project.”