Aris Mining has signed a binding agreement with MDC Industry (Mubadala), a fully owned subsidiary of UAE’s Mubadala Investment, to acquire an additional 31% interest in the Soto Norte gold-copper project in Colombia.

In this regard, both parties have agreed to amend their current joint venture (JV) agreement to reflect the change in the ownership.

Under the terms of the binding agreement, Aris Mining will issue 15.75 million shares to Mubadala, based on the Canadian company’s issued and outstanding shares as of 31 March 2024. This represents around 9.9% ownership stake.

Besides, an additional six million shares will be issued following the receipt of an environmental licence for the Soto Norte project.

Upon the completion of the acquisition, Aris Mining’s total ownership in the Colombian gold-copper project will be increased to 51%. The remaining 49% will be retained by Mubadala.

Besides, the existing option that Aris Mining holds to acquire an additional 30% interest in Soto Norte will be terminated on closing of the transaction. The company will continue to the project’s operator.

Located in Santander, the Soto Norte project is said to be one of the largest undeveloped underground gold projects in South America.

Last year, Aris Mining commissioned a technical and economic assessment of the Soto Norte project that examined a scaled-down mining concept.

The company plans to begin a pre-feasibility study (PFS) of the new development plan. It is slated to be completed by early 2025.

Aris Mining CEO Neil Woodyer said: “As the only mining company with operational experience to own and operate Soto Norte, we believe a new, smaller-scale development plan with a reduced environmental footprint is the right path forward.

“Aris Mining also plans to incorporate processing solutions for contract mining partners into the design and development of Soto Norte, following the successful partnership model developed at our Segovia Operations in Colombia.”

Subject to certain customary conditions and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to be completed in June 2024.