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Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9%

Major gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines has doubled its stake in junior explorer Royal Road Minerals by participating in its C$8 million private placement that closed Friday.
Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9% Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9% Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9% Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9% Agnico raises stake in Royal Road to 19.9%

Exploration in Nariño, Colombia

Agnico increased its position from 9.435% to 19.9% through the acquisition of an additional 26.1 million shares priced at C20c for a total investment of $5.2 million. It now owns 42.5 million shares in Royal Road.

In addition, Agnico and Royal Road entered into an investor rights agreement under which Agnico has the right to participate in future equity financings to maintain its pro rata ownership position.

Royal Roads has put together a significant position of concession applications in southern Colombia's Nariño and Cauca provinces that boarder Ecuador, a region expected to host significant gold and copper deposits. Just south of the border is SolGold's Cascabel copper-gold project and its Chical copper-gold discovery. The company also has exploration concessions in Nicaragua where drilling is currently focused.

Most of the funds raised will be used to pay AngloGold Ashanti for its subsidiary NC Holdings that owns 36,000 hectares of concessions and 215,000 hectares of applications in Nariño, Cauca and Antioquia departments, under a deal in struck in May. Royal Road must pay US$4.7 million upon closing of the transation.

Agnico Eagle has a significant operational and explorational presence in North America and Finland, and has been interested in broadening its range into South America for a number of years, via strategic investments in junior explorers.

In addition to Royal Road, it has invested in GoldQuest Mining, which is waiting for a final permit to build a mine at its Romero deposit in Dominican Republic. It also made two investments in Belo Sun Mining, which is active in Brazil, before selling out in 2018.

Barrick Gold also has a strategic investment in Royal Road.

Shares in Royal Road (TSXV:RYR) closed up 8% Friday on the news at 20c, valuing the company at $43 million. Its share price has increased almost 186% so far this year.