IG Asia has signed a conditional deal to acquire a 75% stake in the Pribrezhniy copper deposit from Rio Tinto International Holdings.

The remaining 25% of the joint venture is owned by KazGeology, a Kazakhstan state geological resources entity.

This move is expected to position IG Asia as a leading copper explorer and developer in the region.

The Pribrezhniy deposit, located at the eastern end of the Kounrad group of copper deposits, is part of a larger project licence area covering 832km².

This area includes several commercial discoveries and mining infrastructure, including access to power, water, railways and a smelter.

The project licence is valid until February 2029, providing ample time for IG Asia to produce a feasibility study on Pribrezhniy and advance two additional prospects.

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Rio Tinto Exploration Kazakhstan has already performed a scoping level engineering analysis on the project.

Upon completion of the transaction, IG Asia will pay Rio Tinto $2.23m (S$3.03m), primarily for reimbursement of exploration work carried out in 2023.

In addition to the initial payment, IG Asia is committed to additional expenditures of $11m to reach a prefeasibility-level project by 2029.

There is also a one-time payment of $20m and a net smelter return (NSR) royalty on Rio Tinto reaching certain production milestones.

For IG Asia, the Pribrezhniy project is a flagship asset alongside its TN5 project in Mongolia, which is situated between the world-class Oyu Tolgoi and Kharmagtai deposits.

It is proposing technical work at Pribrezhniy with the objective of increasing the project’s upside through a combination of increased mineral inventory and optimised processing.

Looking ahead, IG Asia plans to use the expenditure commitment of $9m to carry out various projects, including the Oxide Only Project, Combined Sulphide Project and Definition Phase Studies, until February 2029.