Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) can sit back with a brew – at least for its Hounde South project in Burkina Faso – after kicking off a joint venture with Canada’s Roxgold.

The $C535m ($563m) company can earn a 70 per cent interest in Hounde South by spending up to $US1m ($1.4m) in two stages over four years after satisfying all conditions precedent to their agreement.

Once Roxgold reaches a 70 per cent interest, the two companies will form a JV where both companies contribute according to their interest for the remainder of the project life.

Arrow managing director Howard Golden says the JV allows the company to focus its resources on its more advanced projects including the recent Dassa gold discovery in Burkina Faso, where drilling returned hits including 13m at 3.8 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 3m at 13.1g/t gold.

The company has three other projects in the West African country along with a number of assets, including the Strickland gold project, in Western Australia.

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CSIRO kicks off gold study near Kalgoorlie

Meanwhile, Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has started a research project with Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL) to study the behaviour of gold within and adjacent to the critical mineral deposits of the Goongarrie nickel cobalt project near Kalgoorlie.

The company explained that while most nickel-cobalt laterite deposits were not associated with gold mineralisation, Goongarrie had developed on a major crustal-scale, gold mineralising series of structures in a major gold mining province.

As a result, it has seen extensive gold anomalism associated with the nickel-cobalt deposits at the project including defined resources within the host ultramafic sequence at Big Four Gold.

The study aims to gain a better understanding of gold and critical mineral behaviour at Goongarrie to assist with exploration and future development.

Goongarrie has an existing resource of 773 million tonnes grading 0.71 per cent nickel and 0.05 per cent cobalt.

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Ecuador copper-gold acquisition bulks up this explorer’s inventory

Sunstone Metals (ASX:STM) has increased its land holding in Ecuador with the acquisition of the El Palmar copper-gold project in the country’s north.

El Palmar is located in the same regional structure as the world-class 2.7-billion-tonne Cascabel porphyry copper-gold project and 14km west of the 1-billion-tonne Llurimagua copper deposit.

Drilling by a previous explorer delivered significant intersections of copper and gold in a porphyry environment.

Porphyry deposits are responsible for ~60 per cent of the world’s copper, most of its molybdenum, and significant amounts of gold and silver.

Their easy-mining large volumes make up for the low grades, typically between 0.3 per cent to 1 per cent copper equivalent.

Sunstone said it would resume drilling at its Bramaderos project early next month, with the first hole to test the depth extent of the gold-silver polymetallic system at the Esppiritu target.

It will then move onto drilling at the Brama and Porotillo porphyry gold-copper targets before drilling at El Palmar.

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