BHP Billiton has pulled out of its joint venture with junior minerals explorer Blackthorn Resources to develop the Mumbwa mine in Zambia.


Under the terms of the joint venture, BHP Billiton will sign over complete control of the copper-gold mine to the Australian-based Blackthorn Resources, giving the company 100% ownership of the site, surrendering its 40% stake.


“Following termination of the JV, our company will hold 100 per cent of the equity in the project where there is already an Inferred Mineral Resource,” said Blackthorn managing director Scott Lowe.


The cancellation of the joint venture comes as Blackthorn Resources recruited former head of BHP Billiton exploration, Dr Tom Whiting, to head up the company’s exploration activities.