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Vancouver-based Bear Creek Mining (TSX-V: BCM) has completed the final payment to multination resource group Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) to acquire 100% of its Corani silver-lead-zinc project in Peru, the Canadian reported in a release.
Bear Creek received an 8% discount for making the US$23mn payment early, the release said. The company was required to pay US$10mn on September 30, 2011 and US$15mn on June 30, 2012.
"We look forward to deploying the US$2mn saved towards expanding our aggressive 2011 exploration programs focused on the discovery of new precious metal ore bodies," CEO Andrew Swarthout said.
A feasibility study for Corani is due in Q3. A construction decision is expected to be made in 2012 and first production is scheduled for 2014.
The September 2009 prefeasibility study estimated US$339mn in capex, and proven and probable reserves of 258Moz silver, 2.9Blb lead (1.32Mt) and 1.4Blb zinc.
Bear Creek also has the Santa Ana project in Peru, where production is expected to start in 2012.
The two projects are due to produce 15M-20Moz/y silver, making Bear Creek one of the world's top five producers, the miner said previously.