Barksdale Resources has agreed to acquire a 100% stake in two copper exploration projects in the US from Kennecott Exploration Company, a unit of Rio Tinto Group.

The assets for sale include the Goat Canyon and Canelo copper projects in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

Located nearly 10km northwest of Barksdale’s Sunnyside project in Santa Cruz County, the Goat Canyon is an early-stage porphyry copper-molybdenum exploration project. The property comprises 430 federal mining claims.

The Canelo project is an early-stage copper porphyry and skarn/CRD exploration project.

Located within the Patagonia mining district, the property consists of 433 federal mining claims, covering an area of nearly 8,700 acres.

According to the agreement, Barksdale will also acquire certain raw geophysical data that covers the new projects and the Sunnyside and San Antonio projects, which are both located in Santa Cruz County.

The agreement consists of $35,000 in cash and a 2% net smelter return (NSR) royalty that covers both properties.

Barksdale will have the right to repurchase half of the NSR at any time by making a cash payment of $10m.

Kennecott will also receive a one-time cash payment of $3.5m, in the event of a mine on either property entering operational phase.

Barksdale said that the two new projects would double its property position to approximately 30,910 acres from 12,300 acres within the Patagonia mining district in the state.

Barksdale president and CEO Rick Trotman said: “This acquisition further expands our exciting pipeline of exploration projects within the Patagonia mining district.

“I am excited to not only more than double our footprint within this prolific mineral district, but also add several high-quality copper porphyry drill targets to the portfolio.”