Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, has increased its interest in Gold Road Resources’ South Yamarna Joint Venture (SYJV) to 50%. South Yamarna is 200km east of Laverton in Western Australia.

Under the terms of a joint venture agreement signed between Gold Road and Sumitomo in May 2013, Sumitomo was required to contribute A$8 million to exploration on the South Yamarna tenements by the end of 2016 to earn a 50% share in the SYJV. This commitment was met in March 2016.

Gold Road’s executive chairman Ian Murray said, “Having a successful international mining company as a partner has allowed Gold Road to accelerate its evaluation of the South Yamarna tenements in a way that would not have been possible operating alone.

“We welcome Sumitomo’s progression to 50% ownership of the joint venture and look forward to continuing to work together to unlock the considerable potential of this underexplored gold belt.”

The SYJV covers approximately 2700sqkm of tenements in the Yamarna Belt and is part of Gold Road’s broader landholding in the region, which is about 5000sqkm. The SYJV tenements include several Camp Scale Targets that the partners have identified as potentially hosting multi-million ounce gold deposits.

The 2016 SYJV exploration program commenced with RC and diamond drill testing of the Smokebush Dolerite, Yaffler and Toppin Hill prospects, all of which are within different Camp Scale Targets. Additional early-stage testing of regional targets within the SYJV will take place later in the year.

Following the change in ownership structure, agreement has been reached for Gold Road to continue as manager of the SYJV while assuming chairmanship of the SYJV Committee. Going forward, each party will elect to either contribute to exploration expenditure in proportion to its JV interest or not contribute.