Aureus mining secures US$100m debt financing package; Senior debt banks receive credit approvals and RMB resources mandated to arrange a US$12m subordinated facility
TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE
TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Aureus Mining Inc. (TSX: AUE / AIM: AUE) ("Aureus" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that Nedbank Ltd, acting through its Nedbank Capital division ("Nedbank") and Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited ("RMB") (collectively, the "Banks"), have received approvals from their respective credit committees to provide a Project Debt Finance Facility of US$ 88 million to support the development of the New Liberty Gold Project (the "New Liberty Gold Project" or the "Project") in the Republic of Liberia.
In addition, the Company has mandated RMB Resources, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited (London Branch) ("RMB Resources"), to arrange and provide a US$12m subordinated debt facility to further finance the Project.
- The Banks have received credit committee approval for a Project Debt Facility of US$ 88 million (US$80m for construction of the Project and US$8m to fund potential cost overruns). This Project Debt Finance Facility will be backed by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited ("ECIC") and its final approval, which is still required, is expected before the end of September 2013;
- The Project Debt Facility has a six year loan term and an overall annual cost of funding of c.5% p.a., including LIBOR and political and commercial risk insurance coverage. A hedging policy will be agreed with the Banks. It is contemplated that up to 100,000 ounces of gold may be hedged within the framework of the agreed hedging policy;
- Project Debt Facility loan documentation is targeted for completion in Q4 2013 with the first draw-down anticipated in the first half of 2014; and
- RMB Resources has been mandated to arrange and provide a Subordinated Debt Facility of US$ 12 million. The Facility will have a final maturity 6 months after the Senior Facility and will have a margin over LIBOR of 7.5%p.a. The facility terms include the issuance of warrants (the number to be determined at the execution of the loan agreement) exercisable at a premium of 25% to the Aureus share price;
- Due to short term delays in finalising the financing the Company has prudently held back on the ordering of certain plant equipment and therefore anticipates that first gold pour will now be at the end of Q1, 2015.
Commenting on the results, David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus, said:
"Obtaining credit committee approvals for the debt facilities for the New Liberty project provides Aureus with the green light to build Liberia's first ever commercial gold mine. The overall funding cost, excluding the warrants, of approximately 6% p.a. is extremely competitive in the current market and the hedge policy commitment allows the Company flexibility on when to lock-in gold price protection at a prudent level. Obtaining credit committee approvals is a key milestone and an achievement of one of our strategic goals for 2013. The subordinated debt mandate further strengthens the significant backing Aureus has, as the Company rapidly continues its strategy of harnessing the significant upside of our Liberian gold assets, not only at New Liberty, but also the significant gold discoveries within our mining license, including the Weaju and Ndablama deposits."
"We look forward to working with our key partners at Nedbank and RMB to complete the documentation for the facilities by December 2014 and thank them for their support."
There will be a conference call hosted by David Reading this morning at 09.30 GMT to discuss the above.
Participants may join the call by dialling one of the following numbers approximately 10 minutes before the start of the call:
UK (toll free): 0800 694 0257
Rest of the world: +44 (0)1452 555 566
Participant pass code: 59978531
A recording of the call will be available on the Aureus Website two hours after the call has ended.
Details on the Project Debt Facility
The Banks will provide the Project Debt Facility to Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, the operator of the New Liberty Project. Subject to its approval, the Project Debt Facility will be supported by the South African export credit agency, Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited ("ECIC"). The Project Debt Facility will have a term of six years, with the repayment of capital occurring over the final four years of the loan term. Aureus is required to fund its equity contribution to the project prior to first drawdown. Other terms are customary for this type of facility, with typical conditions precedent to drawdown being documentation, perfection of security and signing of material contracts, such as the EPCM and mining contracts.
Documentation of the Facilities is underway and the Company aims to sign the principal loan documents by the end of the year.
Details on the Subordinated Debt Facility
The key terms of the proposed Subordinated Facility are as follows:
- Subordinated loan facility of US$12m, to be used for the development of the Project;
- The facility will have second-ranking security over the Project assets and will be repayable six months after the expiry of the Senior Debt Facility;
- The facility will have an interest rate of LIBOR plus a margin of 7.5%p.a.;
- Associated warrant issue terms are as follows:
- Warrants will be issued to RMB Resources: being 65% of the Facility amount divided by the exercise price;
- All warrants will expire 5 years from the date of issue;
- The exercise price will be at a 25% premium to the lesser of the 20 day VWAP on the date of signing the mandate letter and the date of signing the loan agreement, subject to a maximum amount of 11.5m warrants.
- Covenants will match those of the Senior Facility, but will become active after expiry of the senior debt.
Update on New Liberty Construction
Construction continues with consistent advancement on site. The latest updates are as follows:
- Ball mill construction on schedule
- Relocation of village to be completed in Q2 2014
- First gold scheduled for end Q1 2015
Germain Crestin has been appointed as Vice President of Exploration ("VP Exploration"). Mr Crestin is a geologist with over 20 years of experience having worked for Randgold Resources in Burkina Faso and Mali and European Goldfields and Eldorado in Turkey, Greece and south east Europe. He was the Chief Geologist in Mali when the 7Moz Yalea gold deposit was discovered. Mr Crestin will be a key member of the Aureus senior management team.
The estimates of mineral Resources for the DFS were calculated in accordance with NI 43-101 and carried out by Chris G Arnold BSc (Hons), MSc, MAusIMM (CP) of independent consultants AMC. The Reserve Study for the DFS was prepared by Mr M Staples of AMC, a Qualified Person, for the purposes of the study, under the standards set forth by National Instrument 43-101 "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Project", of the Canadian Securities Administrators ("NI 43-101″).
The Company's Qualified Person responsible for preparing this release, other than as detailed above in respect of the DFS, is David Reading, who holds an MSc in Economic Geology from University of Waterloo, Canada and is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. David Reading is the President and CEO of Aureus Mining Inc. and consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which it appears and confirms that this information is accurate and not false or misleading.
About Aureus Mining Inc.
The Company's assets include the New Liberty gold deposit in Liberia (the "New Liberty Gold Project" or the "Project"), which has an estimated proven and probable reserve of 924,000 ounces of gold grading 3.4 g/t and an estimated measured and indicated mineral resource of 1,143,000 ounces of gold grading 3.63 g/t and an estimated inferred mineral resource of 593,000 ounces of gold grading 3.2 g/t. A Definitive Feasibility Study has been completed on the Project and construction has commenced with initial earthworks. The Project is expected to have an 8 year mine life and annual production of 119,000 ounces for the first 6 years of production. The Company has financed the Project's equity funding requirement and has mandated two banks for the remaining debt balance.
The New Liberty Gold Project is located within the 100% owned Bea Mountain mining licence, which covers 457 km² and has a 25 year, renewable, mineral development agreement. The Bea Mountain mining license also hosts the proximal gold targets of Ndablama, Gondoja and Weaju, which are the focus of exploration programs during 2013. The contiguous Archaen Gold exploration licence, which covers 89 km², is also a focus of exploration for 2013, with Leopard Rock being the main target.
The Company also has gold exploration permits in Cameroon.
This press release contains certain forward-looking information. All information, other than information regarding historical fact, that addresses activities, events or developments that Aureus believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future is forward-looking information. Forward-looking information contained in this press release includes, but may not be limited to, the future plans and objectives of Aureus and their anticipated future growth, mineral resource estimates and the anticipated exploration and development activities of Aureus. The foregoing and any other forward-looking information contained in this press release reflects the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of Aureus based on information currently available to Aureus. With respect to the forward-looking information contained in this press release, Aureus has made assumptions regarding, among other things: general business, economic and mining industry conditions; and it has also been assumed that no material adverse change in the price of precious and/or base metals occurs, no unusual geological or technical problems occur and no significant events occur outside of the normal course of Aureus' respective business.
Such forward-looking information is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including: risks normally incidental to exploration and development of mineral properties; uncertainties in the interpretation of results from drilling and test work; the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with expectations; uncertainty of mineral resources estimates; adverse changes in precious and/or base metal prices; and future unforeseen liabilities and other factors including, but not limited to, those listed under "Risk Factors" in the Preliminary Prospectus of Aureus Inc. dated April 20, 2011, a copy of which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and in the Aureus Admission Document, a copy of which is available at www.aureus-mining.com.
Any mineral resource figures referred to in this press release are estimates and no assurances can be given that the indicated levels of minerals will be produced. Such estimates are expressions of judgment based on knowledge, mining experience, analysis of drilling results and industry practices. Valid estimates made at a given time may significantly change when new information becomes available. While Aureus believes that the mineral resource estimates in respect of their respective properties are well established, by their nature mineral resource estimates are imprecise and depend, to a certain extent, upon statistical inferences which may ultimately prove unreliable. If such mineral resource estimates are inaccurate or are reduced in the future, this could have a material adverse impact on Aureus, as applicable. Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to inferred mineral resources, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will be upgraded to an indicated or measured mineral resource as a result of continued exploration.
Forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable law, Aureus disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking information, either as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.
SOURCE Aureus Mining Inc.For further information:
Aureus Mining Inc.
David Reading / Paul Thomson
Tel: +44(0) 20 7010 7690
Bobby Morse / Gordon Poole
Tel: +44(0) 20 7466 5000
RBC Capital Markets (Nominated Advisor and Joint Broker)
Martin Eales / Richard Hughes
Tel: +44(0) 20 7653 4000
GMP Securities Europe LLP (Joint Broker)
Richard Greenfield / Alexandra Carse
Tel: +44(0) 20 7647 2800