Red Rock Resources PLC (LON:RRR) and Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) have said Red Rock Australasia Pty Ltd (RRAL), a joint venture in which the two firms own a 50.1% and 49.9% stake respectively, has been granted three licences covering exploration interests near the historic mining centre of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia.

The new licences, which have all been granted for a period of five years, cover the 133 square kilometre (sq km) Blue Whale licence south and east of Ballarat as well as the 74 sq km Blue Chip licence to the west and south and the 8 sq km Blue Ribbon licence to the north.

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In its announcement, Power Metal said RRAL will launch an “expeditious exploration programme”, further details of which will be announced shortly, while Red Rock said in a separate release that it is one of four applicants for a 148 sq km tenement, EL007540, which was compulsorily surrendered by the owners of the Ballarat mine.

“The grant to RRAL of these priority licenses is another milestone in our progress, and the one that opens RRAL’s pathway to the future. We thank Earth Resources Regulation of Victoria for their diligence and responsiveness, in the difficult circumstances created by long lockdowns and a flood of new license applications last year. We now have 215 sq km of granted tenements, forming an outer ring around Ballarat and along the Ballarat trend. The ground that the Ballarat Mine has not been permitted to renew and that forms a close-fitting inner ring around their mine, became available and we immediately applied for it, as did three other parties. This ground is surrounded on all sides by our granted tenements and if granted would link them”, Red Rock chairman Andrew Bell said in a statement.

“As a Ballarat-based company with its focus on Ballarat, we consider that this ground would be a logical fit with RRAL’s other holdings in the area and would enable it to further its mission of becoming a Ballarat exploration specialist. We will now proceed with our plans for a listing of all or part of the RRAL assets. Exploration will begin immediately and we anticipate further updates to the market in respect of RRAL in the near term”, Bell added.

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Meanwhile, Power Metal’s chief executive Paul Johnson said: “The grant of three licenses marks a highly important moment for the Australia gold joint venture, enabling RRAL to move forward with active exploration in a highly prospective group of licenses in the Victoria Goldfields, centred on the historic mining centre of Ballarat. We will be publishing early exploration plans shortly, something all parties have been preparing for over a number of months and utilising the RRAL Ballarat headquarters as the centre of the operational work.”

“In addition we continue to work on corporate activities surrounding the RRAL business, which given the level of interest shown in the Victoria Goldfields and now with the grant of the three licenses, becomes all the more relevant. Importantly, Power Metal is particularly well funded and is able to immediately invest in gold exploration programmes to build what we believe will be considerable value in this unique and significant opportunity”, the Power Metal CEO added.

Shares in Red Rock were up 4.6% at 1p in early trading on Tuesday, while Power Metals rose 6.6% to 2.8p.

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