BHP and Encounter Resources have increased the footprint of the Elliot copper project joint venture (JV) in the Northern Territory by 2700 kilometres as the two companies aim to meet growing demand for the base metal.
The update to the farm-in and JV agreement is a 60 per cent expansion to Elliot’s tenure, which now covers 7200 square kilometres. The farm-in previously covered only 4500 square kilometres.
BHP must now spend $25 million instead of $22 million to earn a 75 per cent interest in the project.
According to Encounter managing director Will Robinson, the project will be developed rapidly to meet a global increase in copper demand.
“Irrespective of the pace of global energy transition, new sources of copper supply are required in the medium term,” Encounter managing director Will Robinson said.
“Greenfields exploration success of globally significant, new resources at projects like Elliott is vital to meet burgeoning copper demand projections.”
The exploration program will include seismic surveys and diamond drilling to develop an understanding of the Great McArthur Superbasin where the Elliot project is based.
“Encounter identified the Greater McArthur Superbasin in the Northern Territory as having significant untested potential for the discovery of large sediment-hosted copper deposits under shallow cover and we now control an extensive portfolio in the region,” Robinson said.
Encounter also aims to progress its copper exploration portfolio to cover an addition 19,000 square kilometres.
“Through our portfolio of 100 per cent owned copper projects, and an expanded partnership with BHP, Encounter provides exceptional leverage to the premium front end of the copper value chain,” Robinson said.
“We are delighted to be working with BHP at Elliott and we look forward to providing shareholders with further updates on the groundbreaking search for Tier 1 copper deposits in the Northern Territory.”
The Elliot project is 200 kilometres north of Tennant Creek. The two companies entered a JV at the project earlier this year.