Kingsrose Mining and BHP have signed alliance agreements through which the latter will finance regional mineral exploration for nickel and copper in areas of interest in Norway and Finland.

The signing of the agreements follows the participation of Kingsrose Mining in BHP Xplor, a six-month, accelerator programme for early-stage explorers aiming to expedite and de-risk their geologic ideas and become investment ready.

The partnership between the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed Kingsrose Mining and BHP will be executed in three stages. These include project generation phase, earn-in phase, and joint venture (JV) phase.

BHP exploration vice president Sonia Scarcelli said: “BHP developed the Xplor programme to address the challenge of declining global discovery rates, by building an industry-first platform for cross-industry collaboration, talent sharing and lifting of exploration operating standards.”

In the first phase, BHP will exclusively fund up to $20m over a period of up to four years for regional generative exploration across large areas of interest in Norway and Finland. This funding gives BHP the exclusive right to select targets to be developed into defined projects.

During the earn-in phase, for each defined project, BHP can earn up to 75% ownership in two stages. This can be achieved by solely funding an additional amount of up to $36m over a seven year-period from the start of the earn-in phase.

The third phase will see the parties funding JV activities on a pro-rata basis, subject to BHP exercising the option to establish a JV. If either company’s stake in a JV falls below 10%, their interest in it will be converted to a 2% net-smelter royalty.

Kingsrose Mining and BHP will have mutual rights of first refusal on the sale of any equity interest in the JV entity or dilution royalty.

Besides, the alliance agreements exclude Kingsrose Mining’s Penikat and Råna projects, which the company will continue to advance on its own.

Kingsrose Mining managing director Fabian Baker said: “The terms of these alliances are industry-leading in how they foster collaboration and the opportunity for mutual value creation between a major and junior company.

“The exploration tenements held by Kingsrose in Norway and Finland represent a rare exploration opportunity with respect to their scale and prospectivity for discovery. The Alliances will see significant exploration expenditure across these mineral belts with the objective of discovering Tier-1 mineral deposits.”