Global miner BHP Billiton has agreed to almost double its stake in the Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador.
The world's largest miner has increased its stake in SolGold, the project's majority owner and operator, from six per cent to 11.2 per cent.
BHP, which only bought into the project six weeks ago with the 6 per cent stake, has paid £45m for 100 million new shares in SolGold.
Read more: BHP buys into Ecuador copper project
The deal takes BHP's stake in the company closer to the 14.5 per cent held by Newcrest, Australia's largest listed gold miner.
“Ecuador is a highly prospective region for the next generation of copper supply,” BHP's minerals Americas president, Danny Malchuk said.
“This additional investment in SolGold strengthens our strategic position in the Cascabel exploration project, and is consistent with BHP's strategy to replenish our copper resource and grow the business.”
SolGold initially rejected BHP's offer for a 10 per cent stake in the firm in October 2016, describing it as “very inadequate.”