Greatland Gold has completed the first phase of drilling campaign at the Paterson South project in Australia under the farm-in and joint venture (JV) arrangement with Rio Tinto Exploration.

Both companies signed the farm-in and JV term sheet in May 2023 to expedite exploration at nine exploration licences within the Paterson Province of Western Australia located near Greatland Gold’s Havieron gold-copper project.

The licenses are Strickland, Budjidowns, Telfer Domain, Basel, Kaliranu, Paterson 8, Skylar, Triangle South, and Wilki Lake.

Greatland Gold said that diamond core (DD) and deep reverse circulation (RC) drilling was completed at the Stingray and Decka targets at the Budjidowns tenement.

Besides, the company said that the first phase of drilling at the Paterson South project effectively tested the magnetic source of the Stingray and Decka targets.

The drilling work has also reached the minimum commitment for the earn in by completing 2,000m of drilling and A$1.1m (0.72m) of expenditure.

Greatland Gold managing director Shaun Day said: “The rapid commencement of drilling following execution of the joint venture with Rio Tinto Exploration is testament to Greatland’s commitment and ability to efficiently and safely explore the Paterson region, which we will continue across our expanded Paterson Province exploration portfolio.

“Completion of this programme successfully achieved the minimum commitment of our Rio Tinto Exploration farm-in and joint venture agreement more than a year ahead of the 31 December 2024 deadline.”

According to Greatland Gold, work is in progress to review exploration executed across the remaining 1,500km2 of Paterson South project.

The company further said that a detailed on-ground heritage survey was completed recently over several targets on the Skylar, Wilki Lake, and Basel tenements.

Under the terms of the farm-in arrangement, Greatland Gold is eligible to earn up to 75% stake in a JV with Rio Tinto that will hold the Paterson South project tenements by spending at least A$21.1m ($13.74m) and completing 24,500m of drilling over seven years.