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Star Diamond has entered into a binding agreement with Rio Tinto subsidiary Rio Tinto Exploration Canada to acquire its 75 per cent interest in the Fort à la Corne project in central Saskatchewan, Canada.

Star Diamond currently holds 25 per cent interest in certain mineral dispositions located in the Fort à la Corne diamond district. Through its new agreement with Rio Tinto, Star Diamond will wholly own the project.

“Acquiring 100 per cent ownership of the project will be a major accomplishment for Star Diamond and its shareholders,” Star Diamond president and chief executive officer Ewan Mason said.

“We are grateful to Rio Tinto for the significant monetary investment and expertise it has contributed to the project (for) more than five years, which has meaningfully advanced what Star Diamond believes is one of the most promising diamond projects in the world.”

Through the agreement, Rio Tinto will transfer ownership of the trench cutter drill rig it used so Star Diamond can complete the project’s prior bulk sampling program. Rio Tinto will also transfer the project’s bulk sample plant, including the TOMRA XRT diamond sorting machine.

“The majority of Rio Tinto’s global exploration program is now firmly focused on metals and minerals to support the energy transition,” Rio Tinto head of exploration Dave Andrews said.

“Although we will no longer have direct involvement in the project, we are pleased to be able to maintain our interest in the project by gaining a 19.9 per cent ownership interest in Star Diamond.

“After more than five years, we continue to see potential in the project and believe it can be a significant contributor to both the local communities around the Fort à la Corne property and the broader Saskatchewan economy.”