Intergeo MMC Ltd., a mining subsidiary owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group, has purchased Vancouver-based copper producer Mercator Minerals Ltd. for a Canadian listing. Combined assets will include a portfolio of producing and short- and medium-term development properties.

Mercator will be renamed Intergeo Mining Ltd., said Onexim company officials in a statement, leaving Intergeo investors holding 85% and Mercator shareholders with 15%. The deal is contingent on Mercator’s continued Toronto listing; its market value stood at $13.4 million this week.

The new entity will “access public capital markets” to develop “attractive projects,” Onexim said, according to Bloomberg, citing Ak-Sug, a copper-porphyry deposit in Russia’s Tyva region. With about 1.8 million metric tons of copper resources, the venture is believed to be the company’s largest and lies in southern Siberia near the border of China — the world's top copper consumer.

The merger also allows Intergeo access to Mercator’s Mineral Park mine in Arizona, with its copper, molybdenum and silver deposits, along with two projects in Mexico: El Pilar and El Creston. Mercator, with shares collapsing 91% in 2013 as the company battled to repay debt, announced in Q3 commissioning BMO Capital Markets to advise on a sale or merger.

Intergeo CEO John Lill outlined priorities that include “efforts initially on optimizing Mineral Park, bringing El Pilar to production and then developing Ak-Sug in a financially disciplined manner,” he said, adding “we have assembled a highly experienced management team and board of directors to execute our vision.” Intergeo had previously planned an initial public offering (IPO) in Canada in 2012; the sale was postponed, however, with officials citing an unfavorable market.

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