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Freeport unit acquiring up to 80% of Solaris' Ricardo copper project in Chile

Minera Freeport-McMoRan South America Ltda. agreed to acquire up to an 80% stake in the Ricardo copper-gold property in Chile from Solaris Copper Inc.'s Minera Ricardo Resources Inc. SA unit.

Ricardo comprises around 14,000 hectares and is located along the West Fissure fault, around 25 kilometers south of Codelco's Chuquicamata copper mine.

To earn a 60% interest in the property, the Freeport-McMoRan Inc. unit is required to spend US$4.2 million on exploration over two years. The company will be then required to spend a total of US$25.8 million in stages until the fifth year in the second earn-in stage.

Freeport can elect to earn an additional 20% interest by funding a feasibility study and spending a further US$100 million on exploration.

Should Freeport fail to complete the third stage within 10 years, it can maintain the option by paying US$1 million annually, according to an Oct. 18 release.