Rio Tinto and First Quantum Minerals have completed a transaction to form a joint venture (JV) that will work to unlock the development of the La Granja project in Peru, one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world.
La Granja is a complex orebody located at high altitude in Cajamarca, Northern Peru, that has the potential to be a large, long-life operation, with a published indicated and inferred mineral resource totalling 4.32 billion t at 0.51% copper.
Following the completion of conditions including regulatory approvals from the Government of Peru, First Quantum has acquired a 55% stake in the project for US$105 million. It will invest up to a further US$546 million into the JV to sole fund capital and operational costs to take the project through a feasibility study and toward development. Upon completion of the sole funding commitment, all subsequent expenditures will be applied on a pro-rata basis according to the share ownership of the project.
As majority owner, First Quantum will now operate the La Granja project with initial work focussed on completing the feasibility study, as per the transfer agreement signed with the Government of Peru.
Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive Bold Baatar said:
“Developing La Granja would provide a significant new supply of copper and further strengthen Rio Tinto’s portfolio of materials needed for the energy transition. Our partnership with First Quantum will bring our combined development capabilities and deep knowledge of La Granja to progress the project.”
Tristan Pascall, First Quantum Chief Executive Officer, said:
“La Granja has the potential to be a large, long-life operation and supply the copper that will be needed as the world transitions to the greener economy and where responsible mining will be the only acceptable way to produce metals. As operator, we will leverage our core strengths in mine design, project development and community engagement and look forward to developing our partnership with Rio Tinto. We appreciate the support from the Government of Peru for the completion of this transaction.”
Rio Tinto acquired the La Granja Project from the Government of Peru in 2006 and carried out an extensive drilling programme that significantly expanded the declared resource and understanding of the orebody, and established partnerships with host communities, local, and national governments.