Panoramic Resources has signed an earn-in with option to a joint venture agreement with Rio Tinto Exploration Canada to consolidate their respective platinum group metal projects in northwest Ontario, Canada. The consolidation would include Panoramic’s Thunder Bay North project and Rio Tinto’s Escape Lake project, which is surrounded on all sides by the Thunder Bay North project.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto has the option to spend up to C$20.25 million over the next 5.5 years to acquire a 70% interest in Thunder Bay North. If Rio Tinto fulfills this option, Panoramic will acquire a 30% stake in Escape Lake.

Project development will proceed in three phases. In phase 1, Rio Tinto will invest C$250,000, and the two companies will jointly review existing data sets and develop exploration concepts and targets on the consolidated property.

At the end of phase 1, Rio Tinto can elect to earn a 70% interest in the Thunder Bay North project by sole-funding C$20 million of expenditure over a five-year period. If Rio Tinto so elects, it will be required to spend a minimum of C$5 million before it can withdraw. During this period, Rio Tinto will be responsible for managing the consolidated property.

If Rio Tinto earns its 70% interest in Thunder Bay North, Panoramic will acquire a 30% interest in Escape Lake, and a contributing joint venture will be established on a 70:30 basis.

Thunder Bay North currently has JORC-compliant open-pit indicated resources of 8.46 million metric tons (mt) grading 2.13 g/mt platinum-equivalent and containing 283,000 oz of platinum and 267,000 oz of palladium, and underground indicated resources of 1.4 million mt grading 3.67 g/mt platinum-equivalent and containing 73,000 oz of platinum and 68,000 oz of palladium.