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Staff Writer

Estrella Resources Limited (ASX: ESR) has been awarded three Mining Concessions in the Lautém Municipality of Timor-Leste in the country’s inaugural Minerals Tender 2023.

This is an extremely positive step forward for Timor-Leste and a massive opportunity for Estrella to create further value for its shareholders through minerals exploration and development in the country,” Managing Director, Chris Daws, said.

“Timor-Leste is a highly prospective country that has little to no modern exploration undertaken within its borders. Estrella’s management have seen first-hand the mineral prospectivity during numerous trips to the country and within the concession areas that we have now been granted the opportunity to explore.

“The ability for Estrella to now set up a new exploration front for its shareholders in a welcoming country on Australia’s doorstep – serviced daily with modern commercial jetliners 85 minutes from Darwin and in a safe and secure social environment – as a ‘first-mover’ is outstanding.

“We look forward in working closely with our partners, Murak Rai Timor, E.P., Timor-Leste Government and Lautém communities to build a new and vibrant minerals industry. We expect to be on the ground and talking directly with our partners and the communities in the coming months as we develop exploration programmes.

“I look forward to updating shareholders of our progress and results as and when we are able.”

Of the four Mining Concessions that Estrella applied for, three were awarded in the mineral titles tender process by the Timor-Leste Government. The Mining Concessions are located in the north-eastern part of the country and cover an area of 121.5 sq. km. Access to the Mining Concessions is 170km via sealed all-weather roads from the capital city of Dili and then a further 10km on all-weather unsealed roads south to the towns of Baduro or Daudere.

Since 2009, Mr Daws has been visiting Timor-Leste and has cultivated relationships in-country in anticipation of the eventual passing of critical mining legislation to enable foreign participation and investment into a new minerals sector.

Estrella Resources Limited Representacao Permanente (ESR-RP) was registered in Dili in 2023 as Estrella’s managing branch company to allow Estrella to effectively operate mineral exploration and development activities in Timor-Leste.

Memorandum of Understanding with Murak Rai Timor, E.P.

ESR-RP has entered a binding Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with state-run Murak Rai Timor, E.P. (MRT) where MRT is free-carried 30% in a joint-venture partnership with ESR-RP up to the publication and approval of a Definitive Feasibility Study on a Mining Concession. The MOU called for, among other items, the creation of a formal joint-venture agreement between Estrella and MRT within 90 days of the successful award of tender bids to ESR-RP.

MRT was set up in September 2023 by the Timor-Leste Government as the Timor-Leste National Mining Company to be capable of participating in the mining of mineral resources on behalf of the Republic. MRT is run by the former Vice President of the ANMP before its recent split into separate petroleum and mineral departments.

According to Decree-Law No. 64/2023, MRT is tasked to carry out mining activities, including reconnaissance, prospecting and exploration, evaluation, development, operation, processing, transportation and marketing of minerals, as well as mine closure activities. MRT is also tasked to carry out auxiliary services to support mining activities.

MRT is a state-owned company incorporated to carry out commercial activities in the mining sector as a part of the Government’s strategy to build institutions that stimulate the development of economic sectors and have great potential to contribute to economic diversification.

A joint-venture partnership between MRT and ESR-RP is regarded as the best way forward for any potential success from mineral exploration to flow through to both ESR shareholders and the Timor-Leste people. The opening of Estrella’s branch Office in Dili will enable Estrella and the Government of Timor-Leste to participate at all levels in the discovery and potential mining that may follow. This will ensure environmental, economic and social benefits to the Republic and people in areas where the joint-venture operates.

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