Azure Minerals has agreed to sell its subsidiaries that own and operate its Mexican precious and base metals projects to Bendito Resources in a transaction valued at A$20m ($14.3m).

Under the terms of the deal, Azure will receive an initial cash payment of A$6m ($4.3m) and a 10% equity interest in Bendito, worth A$2m ($1.5m), upon closing of the transaction.

In addition, the company is eligible to receive a second tranche payment of A$4m in cash and A$8m in shares, payable within 18 months after completion of the transaction.

Bendito intends to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange within 18 months of closing, with the Alacrán, Oposura and Promontorio projects as its core assets.

Alacrán, Oposura and Promontorio are located within the Laramide Copper province, which is one of the most prolific copper-producing districts in North America.

Azure managing director Tony Rovira said: “This is a great outcome for Azure and our shareholders. We have realised a significant cash return for the assets while retaining exposure to the upside as the projects are further developed.

“We still see potential in these high-quality, advanced-stage projects and it makes sense for them to sit within a dedicated special purpose group focused solely on Mexico, which can take them through development funded by the North American capital markets.

“The team behind Bendito have a successful track record of identifying, acquiring, developing and operating projects, so retaining exposure to these assets that we know so well should be both exciting and rewarding for Azure shareholders.

Alacrán hosts the high-grade Mesa de Plata silver deposit and adjacent Loma Bonita gold-silver deposit, which jointly holds 32Moz of silver and 150,000oz of gold resources.

It also hosts the Cerro Alacrán copper porphyry, Palo Seco silver-zinc and San Simon gold-silver prospects, with significant exploration upside for precious and base metal deposits.

Oposura has seen a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) by Azure, which showed high-quality, high-grade sulphide zinc-lead-silver development opportunity.

Promontorio holds an established high-grade, near-surface copper-gold-silver resource, and along with prospectivity for an underlying copper porphyry system.

The current agreement follows the mineral exploration company’s strategic review of its precious metals and base metals projects in Mexico, announced in February last year.

The review recommended to divest the assets and appointed Argonaut PCF to conduct a sales process, which attracted significant global interest.

Azure aims to use the proceeds from the transaction to advance its activities on Andover Ni-Cu project, and other projects in Western Australia.

Furthermore, Bendito is planning to advance both the Alacrán and Oposura projects through intensive drilling, ahead of its planned listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

It intends to conduct resource expansion drilling at Oposura in conjunction with further geotechnical and metallurgical testwork to update the PEA.