Regulus Resources Inc has announced a $15 million non-brokered private placement by Nuton, which will see the Rio Tinto Venture take an approximate 16.5% interest in the company and jointly undertake copper sulphide leach testing using Nuton’s copper sulphide leach technologies with samples from the AntaKori project in Peru.
The Nuton™ technologies, Rio says, have the potential to process arsenic-bearing copper sulphides with less impact on the environment and water resources than traditional concentrator processing.
Regulus has granted exclusivity to Nuton in the area of novel, patented or trade secret leaching technologies, for a period of one year after the delivery of metallurgical samples from AntaKori to Nuton for testing.
Rio, through its Nuton venture, has tabled a solution to treat primary copper sulphides such as chalcopyrite. At its centre is a portfolio of proprietary copper leach related technologies and capability that, Nuton says, offer the potential to economically unlock known low-grade copper sulphide resources, copper bearing waste and tailings, and achieve higher copper recoveries on oxide and transitional material. This allows for a significantly increased copper production outcome, according to the company.
Regulus Resources has outlined a 250 Mt at 0.48% Cu, 0.29 g/t Au and 7.5 g/t Ag indicated resource at AntaKori, in addition to a 267 Mt at 0.41% Cu, 0.26 g/t Au and 7.8 g/t Ag inferred resource.
John Black, Chief Executive Officer of Regulus, said: “The investment by Rio Tinto, one of the largest miners in the world, is another strong endorsement for the AntaKori project. Through Nuton, Rio Tinto has developed sulphide leach processing technologies that could allow for the processing of high arsenic ores without the need for additional on-site treatment or paying heavy penalties to a smelter. Utilising the Nuton sulphide leach technologies could truly be a gamechanger for the AntaKori deposit. The private placement will significantly bolster our financial position and enhance our ability to optimise the value of the existing resources in the project area.”
Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive, Copper, Bold Baatar, added: “This agreement will allow us to evaluate the potential to commercially deploy Rio Tinto’s innovative Nuton technologies for copper leaching at Regulus’ AntaKori project. Our Nuton technologies have the capacity to increase copper production for Rio Tinto and our partners, with a lower carbon footprint and leading environmental performance. Unlocking value from high-arsenic copper sulphides is a particularly exciting prospect for Nuton.”