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Nuton, Rio Tinto’s copper leaching technology venture, will invest a further $US10 million ($16 million) in McEwen Copper, a subsidiary of McEwen Mining, through a binding agreement.

The McEwen Copper shares will be acquired by Nuton through a two-part transaction that involves of a private placement of 152,615 common shares and the purchase of 232,000 common shares in a secondary sale.

Proceeds of the private placement and purchase is expected to be about $4 million to McEwen Copper and $6 million to McEwen Mining.

The private placement’s proceeds will be used to advance the development of the Los Azules copper project in San Juan, Argentina – of which McEwen Copper holds a 100 per cent interest in. The proceeds will also be used for general corporate purposes.

Once the transaction closes on October 19, Nuton will own 14.5 per cent of McEwen Copper on a fully diluted basis, and McEwen Mining will own 47.7 per cent. The transaction values McEwen Copper at around $US800 million (about $1.3 billion).

Earlier this year, the Rio Tinto venture had invested $US30 million ($47 million) into McEwen Copper through a two-part transaction that closed on March 10.

“We are extremely pleased to have Nuton’s strong continued participation in McEwen Copper,” McEwen Copper chief executive officer Rob McEwen had said.

“Together we are exploring new technologies that save energy, water, time and capital in the pursuit of delivering green copper to Argentina and the world, a product that will contribute to the electrification of transportation and the protection of our atmosphere.”

Additionally, Nuton invested $US25 million ($40 million) in McEwen Copper in August 2022 through the third tranche of a private placement offering originally announced in July 2021.

This first private placement consisted of up to eight million common shares of McEwen Copper at a subscription price of $US10 ($16) per common share, for gross proceeds of up to $US80 million ($127 million).