One of the world’s largest mining companies is spending millions of dollars to look for copper in northern Saskatchewan — and could commit tens of millions more if its engineers and geologists like what the drill rigs uncover.
Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. spent the summer taking core samples at the Janice Lake copper deposit north of La Ronge after signing an option agreement with Forum Energy Metals Corp., which acquired the property in 2017.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto can spend up to $30 million over seven years to acquire an 81 per cent stake in the property, which was staked in the 1960s and bounced between companies before ending up in Forum’s portfolio.
Rick Mazur, who started the Vancouver-based junior in 2004 to explore for uranium in the Athabasca Basin before decided to diversify, said preliminary drill results have been positive and the future for copper mining is strong.
“Copper is going to be the mother of all energy metals with the new electric economy we’re building,” he said, adding that the company “scraped together $400,000 lousy dollars” to drill four holes, the results of which piqued Rio Tinto’s interest.
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