Antofagasta Minerals has signed an agreement with Canada’s Pacific Ridge Exploration to option the latter’s RDP copper-gold project in Canada.

Through the deal, parent company Antofagasta has an option to acquire 75% in the RDP Project by paying $1.35m in cash and an $800,000 success payment if the option is exercised.

The firm will also spend $10m on exploration over an eight-year period and deliver a NI 43-101 compliant preliminary economic assessment report on the project.

Operating four copper mines in Chile, Antofagasta will fund all exploration during the option period while Pacific Ridge will serve as the initial operator.

Upon earning the 75% stake, Antofagasta will form a 75:25 joint venture with Pacific Ridge.

Pacific Ridge president and CEO Blaine Monaghan said: “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Antofagasta, a recognised global leader in porphyry exploration and development, to advance RDP.

“With an expanded drill programme at Kliyul and Antofagasta funding a drill program at RDP, 2022 will be an exceptionally busy year for the company.”

Located 40km west of the Pacific Ridge’s Kliyul project, the RDP property is located within the Stikine Terrane, which comprises several significant porphyry deposits, including Kemess, Red Chris, Kerr- Sulphurets and Galore Creek.

Covering more than 10,000ha, the project includes several recognised porphyry copper-gold targets intermittently explored since the early 1970s.

On the project last year, Pacific Ridge carried out reprocessing of multispectral and radiometric data, property-wide compilation, and mapping and sampling programmes to define targets for future drill testing.

Recently, Pacific Ridge agreed to purchase the Onjo copper-gold porphyry project in British Columbia, Canada, from Orogen Royalties.