Rio Tinto completed the acquisition of PanAmerican Silver’s stake in Agua de la Falda and entered a joint venture with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) to explore and potentially develop the company’s assets in Chile’s prospective Atacama region. (Earlier post.)
The acquisition, announced on 1 August 2023, comprises a 57.74% operating stake in Agua de la Falda for $45 million and the grant of net smelter returns royalties. It paves the way for Rio Tinto and Codelco to start its joint exploration project at the asset.
Chile is one of the most important sources of the copper and other critical minerals the world needs to deliver the energy transition and achieve net zero. With this partnership, we are bringing together our complementary experience and capabilities. Codelco’s local knowledge and expertise is second to none and we have a global track record in exploration. I am very much looking forward to getting our work on the ground started.—Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm
Agua de la Falda has previously been explored for precious metals with minimal modern exploration for copper. Analysis by Rio Tinto Exploration indicates it is prospective for new copper discoveries, which will now be the focus of the joint venture.
The partnership builds on a collaboration agreement between the two companies signed in October 2022, aimed at encouraging innovations and technology to improve safety, productivity and environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes in underground mining.