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Junior explorer TechGen has entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement with miner IGO Newsearch for the North Nifty project in WA. 

The JV constitutes an earn-in agreement, which means IGO may earn an interest of up to 80 per cent provided it solely funds the project $500,000 of exploration within four years.   

TechGen will retain a 20 per cent stake, which will be free carried until IGO completes a feasibility study further down the line. At such a time, TechGen will have the option of contributing to project expenditure and maintaining its interest or withdrawing from the JV.  

The North Nifty project is located along the Paterson Orogen, a long belt of folded and metamorphosed sedimentary and igneous rock, making it a mining hotspot.  

The belt is home to a number of high-performing mines, including the Nifty Copper mine, currently the sixth-ranked copper development project in Australia. 

The North Nifty comprises two granted exploration licenses that cover a combined 47km2 across three separate and largely unexplored blocks. The lowest of these blocks is just 8km from Nifty Copper mine. 

“We are delighted to welcome IGO as our exploration partner at the company’s North Nifty project,” TechGen technical director Andrew Jones said. 

“IGO currently holds a major exploration landholding in the Paterson region and are actively exploring adjacent to our project area.  

“As such, our earn-in and JV collaboration with IGO strategically aligns the company with a major, highly skilled, and experienced partner, allowing the TechGen team to focus exploration funds on other project areas.” 

The new partnership is TechGen’s second such JV arrangement in the Paterson Orogen. Late last year, the company entered into an earn-in agreement with mining giant Rio Tinto.  

The agreement covered exploration in the Harbutt range project, and stipulated that Rio may earn an 80 per cent JV interest in the project by sole funding $3 million of exploration within five years, including a minimum of 3000 metres of drilling.