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Pilbara explorer Artemis Resources (ASX:ARV) has inked a deal to let Canada’s Pacton Gold process its gold at the company’s processing plant.

Pacton, which is backed by Canadian billionaire investor Eric Sprott, has been doing deals with ASX-listed companies to build its portfolio of Pilbara conglomerate gold projects.

The company currently controls one of the largest conglomerate-hosted gold landholdings in the Pilbara, with tenements spanning in excess of 2840km.

Conglomerate gold refers to nuggets hosted in rock containing rounded grey quartz pebbles and other minerals.

The Pilbara has become a hot spot for this style of gold, ever since Artemis and its Canadian partner Novo Resources uncovered what they called “watermelon seed nuggets” on their project south of Karratha last year.

Artemis and Pacton have now signed a memorandum of understanding to enter a “strategic processing alliance”.

This will not only be the first time conglomerate-gold will be processed in the Pilbara, but it’s the first time the West Pilbara will have an operational gold plant.

The nearest plant is about 40km away.

The alliance provides Pacton with the potential to bulk process conglomerate and shear-hosted mineralisation from its projects.

Shear-hosted gold is a more conventional style of gold that is already has a proven method of mining and processing.

Conglomerate gold, however, is still a work in progress, with explorers trying to work out exactly how they will mine and process it.

The conclusion most have come to is that they will have to bulk sample it to determine grade and potentially hope to define a resource.

Though Mr Sprott thinks it’s probably easier to just start mining and not worry about defining a resource.

Mr Sprott is Novo’s second biggest shareholder with 10 per cent — while his gold miner Kirkland Lake Gold holds 18 per cent.

And Novo chairman Quinton Hennigh said recently the company wants to start bulk mining conglomerate gold next year.

“Artemis’ 100 per cent owned Radio Hill processing plant will become a multi-metal production platform and it now has a gold circuit,” chairman David Lenigas said.

“This capability makes it an increasingly strategic asset and provides the opportunity for other gold companies in the Pilbara to fast track their bulk sampling and project evaluation programs.”

Artemis recently received approval to initially process 500,000 tonnes each year of gold ore at Radio Hill, but that will eventually be expanded to 1 million tonnes per annum, chief Wayne Bramwell told Stockhead previously.

Pacton, meanwhile, recently struck a $C1.7 million cash and scrip deal with another of Mr Lenigas’ companies – minnow Clancy Exploration, which has a market cap of just $6.7 million.

The $C40.1 million Pacton is earning a 70 per cent stake in Clancy’s Hong Kong project.