Barrick Gold walks away from Guyana joint venture project

Example of artisanal mining along the Arakaka Trend (Conrad Target), which is now closed. (Image courtesy of Alicanto Minerals)

Shares in Australian gold explorer Alicanto Minerals (ASX:AQI) took a major hit on Tuesday after the company revealed that partner Barrick Gold had pulled out of their Arakaka gold venture project in Guyana.

Alicanto, which will retain 100% of the project, said it would now look to capitalize on the Barrick-funded work, taking the opportunity to focus on higher-grade targets not tested during the earn-in period.

The Canadian gold giant had spent $7.1 million on exploration at Arakaka, just shy of the $8 million it was required to invest to earn 65% under a March 2016 earn-in agreement. Its work identified multiple targets, including a number of higher grade prospects that sat outside Barrick’s size criteria, Alicanto said.

Shares in Alicanto fell as much as 25% on the news, closing at only 5.8 Australian cents on Tuesday, down from 7.6 cents.

Previous explorers at Arakaka, including Newmont Mining, have spent more than $20 million on the project.

Alicanto also owns the Ianna gold project, 25km south-east of Arakaka.

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