Western Copper and Gold has announced an investment of C$21.3m ($15.52m) from Mitsubishi Materials to further advance its Casino copper-gold project in the Yukon territory in Canada.

In this connection, Mitsubishi Materials has agreed to acquire a stake of 5% in Western Copper and Gold at a price of C$2.63 ($1.92) per share.

The actual number of shares to be issued and proceeds to be received by the Canada-based mining company will be contingent on whether Rio Tinto Canada chooses to exercise its pre-existing right to keep the current ownership interest of 7.84% in the former.

Rio Tinto agreed to subscribe for and purchase 11,808,490 common shares of the mining company at a price of C$2.17 ($1.58) per share in May 2021. In line with this, Western Copper and Gold received C$25.6m ($18.65m) investment from Rio Tinto.

Western Copper and Gold stated that if Rio Tinto opts to fully exercise its participation right, then Mitsubishi Materials will receive over eight million shares.

Following the investment, Western Copper and Gold will remain as the sole owner of the Casino project and will continue as its operator.

The company will utilise the proceeds to fund certain areas of study, developed with input from Mitsubishi Materials, in order to advance the Casino project to a development phase.

Western Copper and Gold president and CEO Paul West-Sells said: “We are pleased to welcome Mitsubishi Materials as a strategic investor in the Company.

“The investment by Mitsubishi Materials is a strong endorsement of the Casino Project. We look forward to working with Mitsubishi Materials to advance Casino.”

In relation to the investment, both parties will enter into an investor rights agreement, under which Mitsubishi Materials will have certain rights, subject to some conditions.

Subject to regulatory approval, the closing of the investment by the Japan-based company is expected to take place on or about 14 April 2023.

The Casino porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit is situated in west central Yukon. It lies in the northwest trending Dawson Range mountains, 300km northwest of Whitehorse.