Aureus mandates Nedbank Capital and Rand Merchant Bank to arrange project financing for the new Liberty Gold Project in Liberia

TSX : AUE
AIM : AUE

TORONTO, March 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Aureus Mining Inc. (TSX: AUE) (AIM: AUE) ("Aureus" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has mandated the leading South African banks Nedbank Limited, acting through its Nedbank Capital division ("Nedbank"), and Rand Merchant Bank, a division of First Rand Bank Limited ("RMB"), (collectively, the "Banks"), to arrange a Project Debt Finance Facility of up to US$ 100 million, together with an associated US$ 8 million Cost Overrun Facility (together "the Facilities"), to support the development of the Company's New Liberty Gold Project ("New Liberty" or "the Project") in the Republic of Liberia.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Project Debt Facilities of up to US$108 million
  • Overall cost of funding of c.5% p.a. including political risk coverage
  • No gold hedging contemplated

Nedbank and RMB are leaders in African mining finance and their teams bring a wealth of experience in mining and metals and financing of projects, with complementary skills in export credit finance and investment banking.

The Banks will, subject to their required internal approvals, provide the Facilities to Bea Mountain Mining Corporation, the operator of the New Liberty Project, and will be approaching the South African export credit agency, Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited ("ECIC"), for support in the financing.  The Facilities will have a term of six years.

The Company received a number of debt financing proposals following a selection process which has been underway since Q4 2012, with the positive response from a large number of major financial institutions reflecting the robustness of the New Liberty Gold Project.

The total cost of the funding is expected to be approximately 5% p.a. based on current US$ LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate). The ECIC support will include political and commercial risk insurance for the Banks.  The Facilities will not have any mandatory gold hedging as part of the lending terms.

Once the loan has been drawn down, interest payments will commence, but capital repayments will only start during the production phase.

Aureus is advancing well with optimisation studies, which are almost complete. In conjunction with this, early works have commenced at New Liberty and the Project remains on course for first gold pour by 31 December 2014.

The estimated timing for approvals and drawdown is anticipated to be as follows:

                               
Q2 2013                              Updated feasibility study
Q2 2013                              Banks' Credit Committee approvals
Q3 2013                              Sign Final Loan Agreements
Q4 2013                              Facilities Conditions Precedent met
Q4 2013                              First draw down on Facilities
                               

SRK Consulting (UK) Limited will be appointed as the Banks' independent engineer.  The due diligence process is already underway and along with the optimisation work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2013.

Commenting on mandating the Banks, David Reading, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aureus, said:
"The financing for New Liberty following the equity financing in November last year is a key step in Aureus' strategy of building Liberia's first gold mine.  To achieve an overall cost of capital of 5% is an excellent outcome and endorses the quality of the New Liberty Project. We are delighted to welcome Nedbank and RMB as key partners in providing the debt component of what will be a significant step in harnessing Liberia's potential in becoming West Africa's newest gold district. The Project is advancing rapidly, with early civils and earthworks making good progress and the optimisation due to be finalised shortly. We remain on track to achieve first gold production in Q4 2014. We look forward to working with Nedbank, RMB and ECIC as commercial partners in our Company."

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 910,000 ounces of gold grading 3.3 g/t and an estimated measured and indicated mineral resource of 1,143,000 ounces of gold grading 3.6 g/t and an estimated inferred mineral resource of 593,000 ounces of gold grading 3.2 g/t. A feasibility study has been completed on the Project and construction has commenced with initial earthworks. The Project is expected to have an eight and a half year mine life and annual production of 120,000 ounces for the first five years of production.  The Company has financed the Project's equity funding requirement and is in advanced discussions with interested parties to fund the balance.

The New Liberty Gold Project is located within the 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.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking information. All information, other than information regarding historical fact, that addresses activities, events or developments that Aureus Mining 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 Mining and their anticipated future growth, mineral resource estimates and the anticipated exploration and development activities of Aureus Mining. The foregoing and any other forward-looking information contained in this press release reflects the current expectations, assumptions or beliefs of Aureus Mining based on information currently available to Aureus Mining. With respect to the forward-looking information contained in this press release, Aureus Mining 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 Mining's 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 Mining Inc. dated April 20, 2011, a copy of which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and in the Aureus Mining 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 Mining 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 Mining, 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 Mining 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 / Jeremy Cave

Tel: +44(0) 20 7010 7690

RBC Capital Markets (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker) 

Martin Eales / Richard Hughes

Tel: +44(0) 20 7653 4000

Buchanan 

Bobby Morse / Gordon Poole

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000

GMP Securities Europe LLP (Joint Broker) 

Richard Greenfield / Alexandra Carse

Tel: +44(0) 20 7647 2800

Profil de l'entreprise

Aureus Mining Inc.

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