Rio Tinto may take over Pistol Bay’s uranium assets sooner than expected

Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) may become the sole owner of Pistol Bay Mining’s. (TSX-V: PST) uranium assets in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada, sooner than originally planned, as it has decided to pay the junior miner $750,000 before April 17.

Rio will effectively hold a 100% stake in the uranium properties once it pays either $1.5 million by the end of this year; $2 million by Dec. 2018 or $2.25 million by the end of 2019.

The move by the world's second largest miner amends a January agreement and means that once it gives Pistol Bay the remaining sum, Rio will own three key assets, located close to Cameco’s McArthur River mine — the world’s largest producing uranium mine.

Pistol Bay said Rio will effectively hold a 100% stake in the C 4, 5 and 6 uranium properties once it pays either $1.5 million by the end of this year; $2 million by Dec. 2018 or $2.25 million by the end of 2019.

In 2014, the Vancouver-based junior optioned the C5 Property, along with the C4 and C6 claims to Rio Tinto, which already has a 75% interest in the assets. Last year, Rio announced its intention to exercise its option to increase its stake in the assets to 100% by paying Pistol Cdn$5 million by December 2019.

So far, the mining giant has drilled 12 holes for a total of 6,104 m on the C5 Property, and completed gravity and DC resistivity surveys.

Meanwhile, Pistol Bay will focus its efforts in advancing its Dixie zinc-copper-gold properties in Ontario, Canada, which it bought in October last year.

The acquisition, combined with the already optioned Dixie and Dixie 3 Properties, made the Canadian junior the dominant landholder in the Confederation Lake Greenstone Belt, a 7,050 hectares-area in the area southeast of Red Lake.