The $C10.5 billion ($10.8 billion) owner of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine has thrown its weight behind the Perth tiddler hoping to strike it rich in the little-known copper fields near Wongan Hill.
Caravel Minerals said yesterday it had signed a non-binding letter of intent with First Quantum Minerals which, if cemented, would see the Canadian-listed base metals miner spend $1.25 million to take a 12.9 per cent stake in the tiddler.
In what Caravel chief executive Marcel Hilmer described as a "more than encouraging" development for its future, his company and First Quantum have also agreed on a technical arrangement to use the bigger player's geological, operational and technical staff.
"In this market that really helps," Mr Hilmer, who previously worked for First Quantum, said yesterday.
"I know how good their team is and it's essentially very good technical advice at no cost."
Caravel is working over the Calingiri copper-molybdenum project near Wongan Hills, 125km north-east of Perth. Encouraging drill hits in May attracted investor attention amid hope - albeit early-stage - that Calingiri could host a Chilean-type big, low-grade copper deposit.
If the deal is consummated, First Quantum will buy 83.3 million caravel shares at 1.5Â¢ each. Caravel closed steady at 1.8Â¢.