West African exploration company Taurus Gold has forged a joint venture with Randgold Resources to develop the Bakolobi gold project located 30km south of Randgold's Loulo Mine in Mali's south western region.

As per the terms of the agreement, Randgold is expected to fund the various programs at the mine including the completion of a pre-feasibility study and minimum annual work commitments.

Initially, Randgold will hold 51% stake in the joint venture endeavor, while remaining ownership will be retained by Taurus. Randgold, however, can earn additional 14% stake by financing a feasibility study, if Taurus fails to pay up its share.

Following the completion of the feasibility study, each company will fund its proportionate share of all development and mining costs, failing which its participating interest will be subject to dilution, according to the statement.

Commenting on the partnership, Taurus Gold chairman Jonathan Schneider said that Randgold is an ideal partner for the company for the project, which is expected to give Taurus space to focus its resources on its advanced projects in Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

"Taurus will retain a material interest in the Project, while removing any funding requirement until it has advanced to the feasibility study stage," added Schneider.