Located in the Paterson Province of Western Australia, Sipa’s Paterson North copper-gold project is in the same strongly endowed and highly prospective mineral belt which hosts the world-class Telfer gold and copper deposits, the Nifty copper mine and the O’Callaghans tungsten deposit.
The project is in close proximity to Rio Tinto’s Winu copper-gold discovery, which has a maiden Inferred Mineral Resource of more than 500 million tonnes at 0.45% copper equivalent, and Rio’s recent discovery of a zone of gold dominant mineralisation nearby.
In August 2020, Sipa announced a farm-in and joint venture agreement with Rio Tinto Exploration (RTX), a subsidiary of global mining company Rio Tinto. Under the terms of the agreement, RTX can earn a 70% interest in the project by spending $12 million on exploration. Following which, RTX can sole fund to a JORC resource >$1B or complete an ‘Order of Magnitude Study’ to increase its interest to 80%.
The JV allows Sipa to accelerate exploration activities through increased expenditure, and benefit from the technical expertise of RTX and potential operational synergies with RTX’s other activities in the Paterson region, including at Winu, located 10km west of the Paterson North Project. RTX will contribute expertise and funding while Sipa will manage exploration activities in the initial stage of the farm-in.
A heritage survey was completed ahead of a large-scale gradient array IP (GAIP) survey in mid-2021. Results from this GAIP, in conjunction with a review and reprocessing of existing geophysical data sets and an updated basement geology interpretation, enabled the identification of several exciting new drill targets.
Approximately 4,000m of reverse circulation and aircore drilling is planned, together with additional geophysical surveys including airborne EM and further high-powered GAIP. RTX has committed a budget of ~A$3.2 million to support these activities in 2022.