The Canadian junior Luminex Resources has announced a letter of intent to enter into a joint acquisition agreement and joint venture with BHP on mining concessions Tarqui 1 and 2 in Ecuador. BHP will have the right to earn up to a 70% ownership interest by investing a total of up to $75 million and making up to $7 million in cash payments to Luminex.

The company has agreed to work exclusively with BHP to negotiate and complete a binding agreement in the next three months.

Luminex is now in the unique position of having three world-class business partners in BHP, Anglo American and First Quantum in separate exploration projects within its portfolio. These agreements will provide up to $178 million in aggregate funds.

“Luminex is pleased to promote Tarqui with an organization like BHP that has the opportunity and commitment to meet future world copper demand and a strong focus on responsible development in Ecuador,” said CEO Marshall Koval. “Tarqui is an exciting copper prospect that BHP and Luminex will look for in the coming years.”

Ecuador is one of the most popular destinations for junior copper prospectors. Major miners are taking less risky positions by participating in joint ventures or investing in juniors to gain exposure to projects in that country.

However, international investors have complained that they face difficulties in Ecuador, which aims to increase their mining exports to $ 3.66 billion in 2021, from $ 270 million in 2018.