Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. secured an option to acquire Benton Resources Inc.'s Baril Lake claims near the Bark Lake copper-nickel-platinum group metals project in Ontario.
Under the terms, the Rio Tinto unit must pay C$200,000 over four years and another C$1 million once it achieves commercial production. Benton will retain a 2% net smelter royalty, which can be halved for C$1 million.
Like Bark Lake, the neighboring Baril Lake claims potentially host copper, nickel and platinum group metals, Benton said in a Jan. 2 release.
Rio Tinto Exploration struck a deal with Benton in 2016 to earn up to an 80% stake in Bark Lake.
Meanwhile, Benton said it will start an approximately 1,000-meter diamond drill program in early January on the Panama Lake gold project in the Red Lake mining district.