(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (“First Quantum” or “the Company”) (TSX: FM) and Rio Tinto have completed the previously announced transaction to progress the next phase of the La Granja project in Peru, one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world.
“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. Adding this major project to our portfolio will give First Quantum future optionality in the Company’s project pipeline while we focus on strengthening the balance sheet in the interim. 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,” said Tristan Pascall, Chief Executive Officer of First Quantum. “We appreciate the support from the Government of Peru for the completion of this transaction.”
“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.” said Bold Baatar, Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive.
Following the completion of conditions including regulatory approvals from the Government of Peru, First Quantum has acquired a 55% stake in the project for $105 million and becomes the operator of La Granja. The Company will invest up to a further $546 million (the “initial funding”) in the Project. Part of the initial funding will be used to complete a feasibility study over the next two to three years, after which the remaining balance of the initial funding is to be spent on construction of the Project contingent on a positive investment decision. Upon completion of the initial funding amount, all subsequent expenditures will be applied on a pro-rata basis according to the share ownership of the Project.
Work over the initial years will continue to progress community engagement and the feasibility study. The feasibility study will focus on developing an updated geological resource and reserve model, which will require additional infill drilling to upgrade Inferred resources to Measured and Indicated categories. Additional metallurgical studies to establish optimal processing configurations are expected to be carried out in parallel, together with a high-level project layout and configuration of associated infrastructure requirements and logistical routes.
With work on La Granja focused mainly at the studies level, there is no change to the Company’s three-year guidance provided in January 2023 on capital expenditures.