Rob McEwen, Chairman and Founder of McEwen Mining (NYSE:MUX), disclosed plans on Tuesday to raise approximately $100M for the proposed Los Azules copper project in Argentina. The intended timeline sets the ambitious goal of commencing operations toward the conclusion of the decade.
According to a Bloomberg interview, McEwen is currently engaged in discussions with existing shareholders, including automaker Stellantis and a Rio Tinto (RIO) venture, alongside prospective new investors. The primary objective is to secure additional funding within six months for feasibility and engineering work.
Mining companies are banking on deregulation by the new government, led by President Milei, to tap into substantial copper reserves in Argentina’s San Juan province – the targeted location for McEwen’s $2.5B Los Azules endeavor.
McEwen expressed optimism tempered with caution, stressing the urgency for swift governmental action, as metal markets operate within cyclical patterns and financing opportunities can vanish rapidly. He emphasized that any regulatory changes under the administration of the libertarian Milei would diminish investment risks and potentially fortify investor confidence, pending successful navigation through congressional hurdles.
Progress on the Los Azules project includes 21 drill rigs on-site, efforts to secure a renewable energy supply agreement with YPF Luz, and endeavors to adopt a leaching method that would render the operation carbon neutral. McEwen articulated his aspirations to secure an environmental permit in the current year, with a feasibility study slated for early 2025, paving the way for pre-construction activities to commence from 2026 onwards.