US-based silver miner Hecla Mining Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ATAC Resources in a C$31m ($23m) deal.

Under the agreement, Hecla’s wholly owned subsidiary Alexco Resource would purchase all issued and outstanding shares of ATAC at an exchange rate of 0.0166 Hecla shares per ATAC share.

The deal will also see Hecla acquire ATAC’s Rackla and Connaught projects in Yukon, Canada.

Concurrently, Hecla plans to invest C$2m ($1.49m), equal to a 19.9% stake, in the newly formed exploration company Cascadia Minerals.

ATAC’s rights and interests regarding the projects at Catch, PIL, Rosy, and Idaho Creek will be held in their entirety by Cascadia.

Hecla president and CEO Phillips Baker Jr said: “The acquisition of ATAC reflects the continued execution of our strategy of acquiring significant land packages in highly prospective and tier one mining jurisdictions.

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“The Rackla and Connaught projects would further consolidate our position in Yukon after our strategic acquisition of Keno Hill, which we are developing, and is expected to be the largest and the highest grade primary silver mine in Canada. We look forward to continuing our work with the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and the wider Yukon community.”

Hecla noted that it is ‘uniquely positioned’ to pursue the Rackla and Connaught projects due to its technological know-how, financial standing, and asset location in Yukon.

ATAC exploration vice-president Adam Coulter said: “With Hecla’s strategic financing and a strong management team, Cascadia will hit the ground running with fieldwork at Catch leading up to a planned August diamond drill programme.”