Canadian junior Luminex Resources has brought in another major miner to earn into its projects in Ecuador, announcing a letter of intent to enter into a farm-in and joint venture (JV) agreement with BHP over the Tarqui 1 and 2 mining concessions.
BHP will have the right to earn up to a 70% ownership interest in the property by investing an aggregate amount up to $75-million and making up to $7-million of cash payments to Luminex.
Luminex has agreed to work exclusively with BHP to negotiate and complete a binding agreement over the next three months.
Luminex is now in the unique position of having three world-class venture partners in BHP, Anglo American and First Quantum on separate exploration projects within its portfolio. These agreements will provide up to $178-million in aggregate funding.
"Luminex is excited to advance Tarqui with an organisation like BHP that has the opportunity and commitment to supplying future global copper demand and a strong focus on responsible development in Ecuador. Tarqui is an exciting copper prospect that BHP and Luminex will pursue over the coming years," said CEO Marshall Koval.
Ecuador is one of the hottest destinations for junior copper prospectors. Major miners are taking less risky positions by entering into JVs or investing in juniors to gain exposure to projects in that country.
However, international investors have complained that they face difficulties in Ecuador, which aims to boost its mining exports to $3.66-billion in 2021, from $270-million in 2018.