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Diversified major Rio Tinto has met the exploration expenditure obligation to earn a 51% interest in the Janice Lake copper/silver project, in Saskatchewan, and is set to become the majority owner of the project next year, says exploration firm Forum Energy Metals.

Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) has spent C$14-million on exploration expenditure to date, which exceeds the required C$10-million to earn a 51% interest in Janice Lake. A cash payment to Forum of C$100 000 is due before May

Forum says that Rio Tinto does not plan an exploration programme for the 2022 budget year.

“Rio Tinto’s C$14-million in drilling and regional exploration has added tremendous value to the Janice Lake project, most notably at the Janice and Jansem targets where drilling has significantly expanded high grade copper mineralization,” comments Forum president and CEO Rick Mazur.

To date, RTEC has drilled 39 holes on the property totalling 10 033 m on four targets – Jansem, Janice, Kaz and Refuse.

Forum’s stock closed 11% down on Friday at C$0.24 a share.