On February 15, 2017 Abacus announced the signing of an option agreement with Almadex Minerals Limited. (collectively "Almadex") to acquire the exclusive right and option to earn, in the aggregate, up to a 75% undivided ownership interest in the Willow property in Nevada. The option agreement provides for Abacus to earn an initial 60% ownership interest in the property, following which an additional 15% interest may be acquired, at which stage a joint venture agreement between Abacus and Almadex to jointly develop the Property would be established.
The option agreement is viewed as an important step in Abacus' strategy to diversify the Company's copper and gold portfolio which currently consists of the 20% ownership interest in the Ajax copper-gold project, currently undergoing an environmental permitting process in B.C. The Willow property, located in a region known for past copper-gold production in Nevada, provides Abacus with the opportunity to actively advance the asset and become its majority owner-operator through the joint venture.
The 10,252-hectare Willow property is located approximately 65 km southeast of Reno, Nevada and 13 km due west of Yerington, Nevada, in the Buckskin Mountain Range. Year-round access is achieved via a series of four-wheel drive tracks linking secondary gravel roads skirting the claims, which lead to nearby paved roads. The Property was explored in the 1960s to the early 1980s to identify a porphyry copper deposit analogous to the nearby Yerington Mine which produced approximately 1.6 billion pounds of copper from 1952 to 1978.
The property is underlain by a series of intensely argillic-phyllic altered volcanic rocks that have been protected from erosion by an overlying siliceous cap rock. The siliceous unit represents a classic lithocap marking an ancient water table, and is formed above a major hydrothermal centre. Stratigraphically above the lithocap are a succession of thin andesitic flows, rhyolites and intermediate volcanic flows.