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Thunder Bay explorer strikes option deal with Rio Tinto

Benton Resources dealing Baril Lake claims to mining giant

Though it remains a tough financing environment for the exploration industry, Benton Resources is kicking off 2019 in style.

The Thunder Bay-based junior announced the signing of an option-to-purchase agreement with mining giant Rio Tinto on a prospective base metal project in northwestern Ontario.

Under the agreement, Benton will receive $200,000 over four years on its Baril Lake claims. Should Rio Tinto put the property into commercial production, Benton snags an additional $1 million.

The two companies have been joint venture partners at the Bark Lake base metal project, which is halfway between Thunder Bay and Atikokan.

Baril Lake, a highly prospective copper-nickel and platinum group metals property, is five kilometres west of Bark Lake. Some past drilling at Bark Lake by Rio Tinto Exploration Canada yielded mineralization of 0.31 copper and 0.72 grams per tonne of platinum and palladium over 19.2 metres on one hole.

Benton also announced it’s starting a 1000-metre diamond drill program on its Panama Lake gold project near Red Lake this month. The drilling will focus on Benton’s new surface sampling discovery from prospecting completed earlier this year, grading from trace to 6.17 grams per tonne (g/t) from the north shore of Slate Lake.

The company said a second series of holes will test the Panama Zone where past diamond drilling completed by Noranda Exploration in 1988 encountered results of up to 2.8g /t Au over 4.5 metres within a 20 to 30-metre wide mineralized shear zone.