Rio Tinto recently announced that it has signed an exploration joint venture agreement with CODELCO, the world’s largest copper producer. Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto and CODELCO’s 100%-owned subsidiary SCM Los Andes will jointly contribute mineral rights in Chile to the joint venture, which will be managed by Rio Tinto. This is the first joint venture that Rio Tinto has entered into with state-owned CODELCO.
“This landmark agreement combines the strengths of two highly experienced copper producers,” said Bret Clayton, chief executive, Copper, Rio Tinto. “Together, we hope to unlock value from a highly prospective copper belt in the biggest copper producing country in the world. We look forward to a long and deepening relationship with CODELCO.”
The property to be explored is the Exploradora prospect in northern Chile. Rio Tinto has the option to earn a 55% interest in the prospect through an exploration investment of $20 million, with the potential to increase ownership to 60%.
Rio Tinto has been exploring in Chile since 1989 and has several copper exploration properties under title that are scheduled for drill testing in 2008.
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