Junior copper and gold explorer Auris Minerals has explained its reasons for choosing a joint venture offer from bigger rival Sandfire Resources over another deal.

The explanation follows a recent media report that claimed one of the brokers Andrew Frazer and other shareholders were disappointed with the $1.2 million farm-in deal Auris struck with Sandfire over the Morck’s Well and Doolgunna projects.

A year ago, Mr Frazer handed Auris a proposal from another company to enter into a joint venture for the majority of Auris’ assets.

But Auris said the offer was knocked back by the directors because it would have left the company as “merely an exploration division of the JV partner with no independence or associated corporate appeal”.

The deal would also have handed control of the majority of Auris’ assets without a discovery, the company told investors.

Auris says the Sandfire deal, however, resulted in the company being “well-funded and fully leveraged to the future exploration success” on its fully-owned projects.

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It would also only dilute the company’s interest in the farm-in tenements following the completion of a feasibility study on a discovery.

Auris is facing a battle for control, with a group of dissident shareholders moving to overthrow chair Bronwyn Barnes and nonexecutive director Susan Vearncombe from the board.

Michael Fotios, who has a 15.8 per cent stake in Auris, is trying to keep Ms Barnes and Dr Vearncombe from being evicted by seeking the removal of director Rob Martin — who is believed to be linked to the dissident shareholder group.

Auris will hold a general meeting on April 20 to vote on the removal of Ms Barnes, Dr Vearncombe and Mr Martin as well as the appointment of Neville Bassett and Brian Thomas as directors.