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Mitsubishi takes stake in Western Copper’s Casino project

Copper-gold project prepares to enter Yukon environmental review
Casino project's exploration camp in the Yukon.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corporation plans to take a five per cent stake in a Vancouver company with a large proposed copper-gold mine in the Yukon.

Western Copper and Gold Corp. (TSX,NYSE: WRN) announced today that Mitsubishi plans to buy into its Casino copper-gold project in the Yukon by acquiring five per cent of Western’s issued and outstanding shares – an investment worth $21.3 million, depending on whether Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) exercises its right to also buy shares to maintain its current ownership of 7.84 per cent.

“Assuming Rio Tinto elects to exercise its participation right in full, then it is expected that 8,091,390 shares will be issued to Mitsubishi Materials for aggregate gross proceeds of C$21.3 million and 878,809 shares will be issued to Rio Tinto for aggregate gross proceeds of C$2.3 million,” the company said in a press release.

“We are pleased to welcome Mitsubishi Materials as a strategic investor in the company,” Western Copper and Gold CEO Paul West-Sells said. “The investment by Mitsubishi Materials is a strong endorsement of the Casino project. We look forward to working with Mitsubishi Materials to advance Casino.”

The Casino project is a proposed open-pit copper, gold, molybdenum and silver mine 380 kilometres west of Whitehorse. Western Copper and Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, has estimated the mine’s capital cost at $3.3 billion. The company estimates the project would employ 1,400 workers during peak construction and ongoing employment of 600 to 700 workers in operation.

In an economic impact study released in February, the company estimated the mine, with an estimated life of 27 years, would contribute $1.3 billion to Yukon’s economy annually for the life of the mine.

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