- McEwen Mining is an asset-rich diversified gold and silver producer in North and South America and has a large exposure to copper through its subsidiary, McEwen Copper
- McEwen Copper recently closed an investment by FCA Argentina S.A., a subsidiary of multinational automotive juggernaut Stellantis
- Valued at about USD 152.149 million, at the current official exchange rate of 0.0051 ARS/USD, the investment will help McEwen Copper advance the development of its 100% owned Los Azules copper project in Argentina
- McEwen Copper hopes to electrify and decarbonize mobility by quenching the growing demand for copper within the electric vehicle industry; thus, earning the attention of and investment by an automotive company may go a long way in making this a reality
McEwen Copper Inc., a subsidiary of McEwen Mining (NYSE: MUX) (TSX: MUX), recently closed an ARS 30 billion (approximately USD 152.15 million at the prevailing 0.0051 ARS/USD official exchange rate) investment by FCA Argentina S.A., a subsidiary of Stellantis N.V. (NYSE: STLA). Stellantis is a renowned multinational automotive corporation and owner of such iconic brands as Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat, Maserati, Peugeot, and more (https://ibn.fm/h6SsQ).
The investment was closed on February 24, 2023, in a two-part transaction that consisted of a private placement of 2,850,000 common shares of McEwen Copper and the purchase of 1,250,000 common shares of McEwen Copper owned by McEwen Mining in a secondary sale. Proceeds from the investment will be directed toward advancing the development of McEwen Copper’s 100%-owned Los Azules copper project in San Juan, Argentina.
After the closing of the transaction and taking into account a recently announced but yet-to-be-closed additional US $30 million investment by Nuton, an innovative new venture that is intended to help grow the copper business of mining giant Rio Tinto, McEwen Mining owns 51.9% of McEwen Copper on a fully diluted basis, while Stellantis owns 14.2%. On its part, Nuton will own 14.2% of McEwen Copper once its planned investment closes on or before March 10, 2023. The transactions are valuing McEwen Coper at approximately USD 550 million (https://ibn.fm/xts2c).
Stellantis’ investment is part of its goal to lead the automotive industry with its commitment to be carbon net zero by 2038. This goal, STLA CEO Carlos Tavares says, “requires innovation and a complete redefinition of the entire business.” As a result, the corporation is taking crucial steps in Argentina and Brazil to decarbonize mobility and ensure “strategic supplies of clean energy and raw materials necessary for the success of the company’s global plans.”
“We are delighted to have Stellantis as a partner in the future development of our Los Azules copper project,” comments McEwen Copper CEO Rob McEwen. “Together, we share a vision to build a mine for the future based on regenerative principles that can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2038. We are committed to delivering green copper to Argentina and the world, a product that will contribute to the electrification of transport and the protection of our atmosphere.”
McEwen Copper’s Los Azules project is regarded as one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper projects. According to a 2017 Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”), the project is expected to produce an average of 415 million pounds of copper annually for the first 13 years of operations (https://ibn.fm/fy1PE). The PEA also anticipates the project will be the world’s 25th largest copper producer during the first 10 years of the mine’s projected 36-year lifespan. Even so, McEwen Chair Rob McEwen is confident the mine will continue production well into the 22nd century (https://ibn.fm/w07d7).
Thus, there’s little doubt about McEwen Copper’s contribution to the global decarbonization goals, especially because copper is extensively used across a variety of electrification systems as well as in heat exchanges thanks to its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is found in solar panels, power grids, windmills, charging infrastructure, and buildings’ wiring. But a parameter that is perhaps of greatest interest to Stellantis is that electric vehicles use more than 2x the amount of copper used in internal combustion engine-powered vehicles (https://ibn.fm/ADNTx).
Connectedly, and as part of the recent investment, McEwen Copper and some of its affiliates entered into an Investor Rights Agreement (“IRA”) and a Copper Cathodes and Concentrates Purchase Rights Agreement (“CCCPRA”) with Stellantis. The CCCPRA, in particular, provides an option to Stellantis and its affiliates that, if exercised to its maximum extent, will allow them to buy a percentage of the copper concentrates or copper cathodes, or both, produced from the Los Azules project, in each case equal to their equity ownership percentage in the mining company.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.McEwenMining.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to MUX are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/MUX
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