Under the terms of the agreement, A-Cap will invest $2.25m over two years to acquire a 60% stake in the Marlborough project. The investment will be made until the completion of a bankable feasibility study (BFS).

Castillo Copper’s chairman Peter Meagher said: “This is a significant milestone for CCZ, as it is a win-win transaction on two fronts.

“Firstly, we are working with a first-rate strategic partner in ACB that brings project development expertise as well as prospective customers for nickel and cobalt in the all-important China market.

“Secondly, the ACB earn-in JV arrangement enables our Marlborough project to be optimised concurrently as we focus on re-opening the Cangai Copper Mine and developing the cobalt-zinc Broken Hill project.”

At the end of the bankable feasibility stage, CCZ may elect to fund its share of project development costs or otherwise resolve to dilute its joint venture interest.

According to the company, a definitive JV agreement will be prepared and entered within 30 days of signing the terms sheet.

The Marlborough project includes three tenements that are highly prospective for nickel-cobalt mineralization.

The project is adjacent (3km east) to the Marlborough Nickel Pty’s Marlborough Nickel–Cobalt Project resource and mining leases.

A-Cap said: “The proposed joint venture represents a strategic opportunity for A-Cap to diversify its mineral portfolio into cathode materials production and supply to the battery industry.

“A-Cap’s current Letlhakane Uranium Project located in Botswana, continues as a core strategy to ultimately supply uranium U308 product to nuclear facilities as prime fuel for base load power generation and its service to the battery industry markets and its consumers.”