Antofagasta venture to buy Minn. copper miner

Dec 20, 2010 | 01:04 PM |

Antofagasta Plc and Duluth Metals Ltd. have agreed to buy Franconia Minerals Corp. in a Canadian $77-million ($75.7-million) deal aimed at increasing their presence in the mineral-rich complex of eastern Minnesota.

As a result of the transaction, Franconia's assets are expected to be rolled into Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, a joint venture of Duluth (holding 60 percent) and Antofagasta (40 percent). Franconia owns 70 percent of the Birch Lake, Maturi and Spruce Road copper-nickel-platinum-palladium deposits in northeastern Minnesota. The Birch Lake deposit has 176.8 million tonnes of indicated resources grading 0.53-percent copper, 0.17-percent nickel and 0.10-percent cobalt. Maturi, meanwhile, has inferred resources of 119.9 million tonnes and Spruce Road has inferred resources of 124 million tonnes.

The Franconia deposits sit next to the Nokomis deposit held by Twin Metals.

The four projects combined will give Twin Metals control of some 25,000 acres of land.

Duluth added three new geologists to its exploration team earlier this month (AMM, Dec. 10). ....





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