Azimut Exploration, SOQUEM strike alliance

Azimut Exploration and SOQUEM, a subsidiary of Ressources Québec, have signed the final agreement of their expanded strategic alliance, previously announced on Feb. 25.

The alliance comprises nine gold and copper-gold major properties totalling 7,149 claims with a surface area of 3,277 sq. km. The properties are located in the prospective Eeyou Istchee James Bay and Nunavik regions of Quebec. These regions are part of the Plan Nord strategy implemented by the government of Quebec.

The alliance represents a major change in the activity level of both companies and will combine their strengths, specifically Azimut’s big data analytics expertise in mineral exploration and SOQUEM’s mining exploration and development expertise. A key component of the Alliance will be the continued development of close ties with local communities in the Nunavik and James Bay regions. The alliance builds on the technical success of the original James Bay strategic agreement in 2016.

Highlights of the transaction

1) Nunavik: The agreement covers three major copper-gold properties (Rex-Duquet, Rex South and Nantais). The objective is to unlock the potential of known district-scale polymetallic targets.

SOQUEM will have the option to earn an initial 50% interest in the Rex-Duquet, Rex South and Nantais properties by investing $16 million in exploration work over a period of four years, the first two years being a firm commitment of $4 million each year. SOQUEM will have the option to earn an additional 10% interest in each designated property (for a total 60% interest in each such property) by investing $8 million per designated property over a period of two years and delivering a preliminary economic assessment (PEA). Azimut will be the operator.

2) James Bay: Amendments to the existing agreement relate to six gold properties explored under the alliance since 2016. Azimut has a back-in option to regain a 50% interest in four properties (Munischiwan, Pikwa, Pontois and Desceliers) by conducting a total investment of $3.31 million in exploration work over a period of three years, representing the same amount initially invested by SOQUEM.

Azimut remains operator during this earn-in option period, which will be transferred to SOQUEM thereafter. Azimut and SOQUEM each retain a 50% interest in the Galinée and Dalmas properties. Azimut will remain operator on these projects and SOQUEM relinquishes its exclusive rights to acquire an interest in other properties wholly owned by Azimut (Duxbury, Kukamas East, Corvet and Synclinal).

3) The agreement also sets out the conditions for additional predictive modelling elsewhere in Quebec.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)