Glencore International is set to take full ownership of the MARA copper-gold project in Argentina by acquiring Pan American Silver’s 56.25% stake for $475m in cash.

Besides, Pan American Silver will be granted a copper net smelter return (NSR) royalty of 0.75%.

In March 2023, Pan American, through its acquisition of Yamana Gold, earned the latter’s 56.25% stake in the MARA project.

Last year, Glencore acquired an 18.75% stake in the MARA copper-gold project from Newmont for a sum of around $175m. The deal increased the former’s stake in the Argentine project to 43.75%.

The closing of the deal, which is expected to occur in Q3 2023, is subject to customary conditions and regulatory filings.

Located in the Catamarca province, the MARA copper-gold project was first created in December 2020 as a joint venture between Yamana Gold, Glencore, and Newmont. This was done by integrating the Minera Alumbrera plant and mining infrastructure and Agua Rica project.

MARA’s verified and projected mineral reserves are 5.4 million tonnes of copper and 7.4 million ounces of gold, all contained within 1.105 billion tonnes of ore. The mine is estimated to operate for 27 years based on the mineral reserves, backed by drilling of over 86km.

Glencore stated that the MARA project is one of the least capital-intensive copper projects globally at present. This is due to the utilisation of the well-maintained Alumbrera processing plant and its associated infrastructure, which makes it a cost-effective brownfield project said the Switzerland-based commodity trading and mining company.

Moreover, Glencore anticipates that when operational, MARA will rank among the top 25 global copper producers. It is projected to achieve an average copper production of over 200,000 tonnes per annum during the first 10 full years of operation.

The company stated: “Glencore has extensive institutional knowledge of the asset and the jurisdiction, based on its successful history of running the Alumbrera operations prior to the integration with Agua Rica in 2020.”