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Altius Minerals forms exploration alliance with Virginia Mines

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Altius Minerals (TSE:ALS) announced Wednesday a strategic alliance with Virginia Mines (TSE:VGQ) to jointly undertake base and precious metals exploration in Quebec and Labrador.

Altius Minerals signed a memorandum of understanding agreement with Virginia Mines, under which both companies will cooperate to explore for base and precious metals on the North Shore area of Quebec and in southern Labrador.

Both members of the alliance are project generation companies, who will share their experience and databases, co-fund early stage exploration programs, and jointly seek partners for any new projects that will be created from the partnership.

Target evaluation is in progress, and an initial reconnaissance field campaign is being designed for the upcoming field season, the parties said.

Altius Minerals will be the operator of the alliance during the first year. The company is focused on the mining and resources sector. It has two units, the exploration and prospect generation segment, and the investment and royalty acquisition division, with total assets of roughly $300 million, including $162 million in cash and no debt.

Its Labrador iron ore properties are subject to an earn in agreement with Rio Tinto Canada that includes 15 map-staked mineral licenses, comprising 586 claims and covering 14,650 hectares in western Labrador.

Altius also has an alliance with Millrock Resources (CVE:MRO), a project-generation focused explorer active in Alaska and Arizona in which it holds a significant equity stake.

Virginia Mines is focused on exploring mining properties in northern Quebec. As of November 30, 2011, the company had working capital of $43.6 million.

Altius shares traded at $10.64 and Virginia shares traded at $9.03 Wednesday morning.

Quick facts: Altius Minerals Corporation

Price: 10.65 CAD

TSX:ALS
Market: TSX
Market Cap: $441.73 m
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