Midnight Sun Mining secures JV with Rio Tinto for Zambian copper deposits

TSX-listed junior Midnight Sun Mining has entered into a earn-in and joint venture agreement with Rio Tinto relating to its copper exploration licences in North-Western Province of Zambia.

Rio will make an initial payment of US$700,000 to Midnight Sun and will fund an initial work programme on the Solwezi licences by spending $3 million within the next two field seasons.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant will obtain 51% ownership of the licences by incurring a further $16 million in work expenditures within four years and making a total of $1 million in additional scheduled cash payments to Midnight Sun.

The agreement also allows Rio to incrementally increase its ownership up to 75% by spending a total of $51 million in work commitments and/or completing a feasibility study within three years.

“I am excited to be partnering with one of the preeminent leaders in the mining industry,” said Midnight Sun’s CEO, Al Fabbro. “Rio Tinto’s enthusiasm towards the Solwezi Licences reflects my own. Their expertise combined with their aggressive exploration plans are precisely want I want to see for this project.”

The Solwezi licences comprise two individual exploration licences totalling 506 km² adjacent to First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi mine — Africa’s largest copper mining complex.