Bluejay Mining has signed a joint venture (JV) and earn-in agreement with Anglo-Australian mining major Rio Tinto to enhance the Enonkoski nickel project in Finland.

The agreement could see Rio Tinto acquiring up to a 75% interest in the project by investing $20m in the nickel project.

Bluejay Mining CEO Rod McIllree said: “We are delighted to have signed this Agreement with Rio Tinto and look forward to a successful partnership as we jointly assess the Enonkoski nickel belt. This belt has demonstrable nickel occurrences and past production and it’s a testament to the project that we have attracted a blue-chip miner at Enonkoski.

“At Bluejay and FinnAust, our wholly owned Finnish subsidiary, we have a strategy of discover, develop, deliver, and we have always maintained that our portfolio is of exceptional quality and value, derived through our exploration expertise.”

Rio Tinto will make the investment in three stages, either by covering project expenses or paying cash equivalent amounts.

In the first phase, the Anglo-Australian firm could secure a 51% stake by spending $5m by November 2023. Out of this $5m, Rio would have to spend $400,000 by the end of March next year.

In the second stage, the company could then increase its ownership to 65% by investing an additional $5m by November 2025.

In the last stage, Rio’s stake in the Enonkoski nick project would jump to 75% if it makes an investment of another $10m by November 2029.

In a press announcement, Bluejay Mining stated: “Shareholders should note that there is no guarantee that Rio Tinto will exercise its option to enter into a joint venture with the Company or that any project expenditure will be provided for Enonkoski or any cash payments  made to Bluejay.”