Canadian metal and mineral exploration company Southern Empire Resources has reached an agreement with Cuprum Mining, which grants it an opportunity to acquire up to 100% of the latter and thereby fully own its Suaqui Verde copper project in Mexico.

After completion of certain conditions, Southern Empire will issue a notice to Cuprum of its intention to proceed with the transaction.

At its sole discretion, Southern Empire may exercise the option to buy up to a 100% stake in Cuprum.

The company may acquire an initial 10% stake by paying C$500,000 ($367,728) to Cuprum’s shareholders and issue 7.5 million shares, within 90 days of the final agreement.

To acquire a 20% stake, it will pay C$250,000, issue another 7.5 million shares and incur C$750,000 in exploration expenses within 15 months of the completion date.

For a 30% stake, a further C$500,000 must be paid along with C$750,000 in exploration expenses, 30 months from the date of completion.

An additional 20% can be acquired by paying an additional C$500,000, along with incurring C$750,000 exploration expenses within 45 months from the completion date. This will bring Southern Empire’s stake in Cuprum to 50%.

The remaining 50% stake can be acquired by paying C$750,000 to Cuprum’s shareholders and by incurring C$1m in exploration expenses.

This will bring the total amount spent on exploration to C$3.25m ($2.39m) within 60 months of the completion date and Cuprum will become 100%-owned by Southern Empire.

Southern Empire CEO Dale Wallster said: “With Suaqui Verde, I believe that our team can create significant near-term value for Southern Empire shareholders. Copper, which has just been added to the US Department of Energy’s List of Critical Materials, is now often referred to as the ‘new green metal’ as the electrification and decarbonisation of the world will not happen without it.

“Suaqui Verde presents an exciting opportunity for Southern Empire to enter the green metals arena by acquiring a little-known copper oxide deposit in mining-friendly Sonora. Southern Empire will be able to immediately capitalise on the substantial investments of previous operators as we investigate the significant exploration potential to expand the Suaqui Verde copper deposit at depth.

“The case for future development is very compelling, especially with the possible implementation of either conventional heap leach processing or innovative in-situ leaching processing.”

The Suaqui Verde copper deposit is located in Suaqui Grande Municipality within the Sonora-Arizona porphyry copper province in the state of Sonora in Mexico.

Cuprum’s mineral concessions cover 1,952 hectares and comprise oxide copper, along with secondarily enriched copper sulphide mineralisation that outcrops at the surface.