Rio Tinto buys 90% stake in Eclipse uranium project

Rio Tinto buys 90% stake in Eclipse uranium project

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) will fund up to US$3.8 million in exploration financing to earn a 90% stake in one Eclipse Metals’ (ASX:EPM) uranium projects in Australia’s Northern Territory.

The miner will also have the right of first refusal over various other Eclipse uranium licences in the state.

Under the terms of a joint venture with Eclipse, Rio signed an agreement on 19 August to spend at least $191,000 on exploration of Eclipse’s Devil’s Elbow tenement, one of its Liverpool Uranium Project tenements.

Once Rio has spent $1.1 million on exploration over three years, it will earn a 65% joint venture interest in the Devil’s Elbow lease. At that point, Eclipse can either keep its 10% interest or sell it to Rio at fair market value.

Eclipse’s Liverpool Uranium Project licences are found in the Alligator Rivers uranium field in the Northern Territory.

The Devil’s Elbow tenement is located 24 kilometres from Cameco’s Caramel Uranium resource and 41 kilometres southeast of the former Nabarlek uranium mine.

Carl Popal, Eclipse executive chairman said: “The arrangements with Rio Tinto will mean that standout exploration targets will be given first-class technical assessment by one of the world’s largest and most successful mining and exploration companies.”

“We continue to seek the best results for the Eclipse shareholders and believe that this farm-in and joint venture arrangement significantly enhances the prospects of identifying and developing economically viable mineral deposits at the Liverpool Project.”