Ariana Resources Plc (LON:AAU) has completed what it describes as a transformational joint venture deal in Turkey, with Özaltin and Proccea Construction.
Formalising the terms agreed in December, the expanded JV deal sees the company bank US$37.75mln of cash from the partial sale of its interests in Turkey.
Ariana and Proccea each retain 23.5% interests in the venture, whilst Özaltin hold the other 53%.
The new partner is committing US$8mln to fund a feasibility study, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and permitting for the Salinbas project.
“This joint venture represents the most significant development in the company’s history and we look forward to building on our enhanced position while continuing to deliver on our objective to provide significant value for shareholders,” said Dr Kerim Sener, Ariana managing director.
“This JV validates our successful strategy of simultaneously creating value and mitigating business risks.”
Sener added: “With our enhanced cash position of about £25 million, following completion, this deal will catalyse further exploration and development across Turkey and the wider region, as we pursue project opportunities on behalf of the joint venture.”
Additionally, the company noted that the process plant at the Kiziltepe project is said to be ‘well underway’, and due for completion in the second half of this year. Ongoing drilling at the project is at the same time testing vein extensions.
Sener highlighted that the Ariana team is advancing interest in Venus Minerals and expect to reach 50% ownership during 2021, whilst supporting resource development and exploration programmes in Cyprus.
Separately, it is progressing the assessment of several gold and copper-gold projects in Eastern Europe, with news on its progress expected in the first half the year.
“We look forward to updating the market on these and other high-impact initiatives that will be advanced by the company during the coming months.
“In addition, we are advancing our plans to distribute a substantial special dividend to reward our loyal shareholders during 2021.”