Aterian (ATN.L), a small-cap focusing on Africa, has signed a definitive earn-in agreement with Rio Tinto (RIO, RIO.L) whereby the latter can earn a 75% stake in the HCK project in Rwanda for a total of US$7.5M in exploration expenditures. Aterian has identified 19 pegmatite zones on the 2,750 hectare project which could be prospective for lithium-caesium-tantalum mineralization. Rio Tinto also has the option to add Aterian’s two other Rwanda-based projects to the joint venture.

During the first stage of the agreement, Rio will be required to spend US$3M over a two year period to earn an initial 51% stake which can then be increased to a 75% stake upon spending an additional US$4.5M during a three year period. Rio Tinto will also be required to pay US$300,000 in cash and issue a 2% NSR with a US$50M cap.

Disclosure: The author has no position in Aterian. Please read our disclaimer.

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