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Gold and Silver Mining

KEFI Minerals now have the opportunity to advance and excel

KEFI Minerals plc (LON:KEFI), the gold exploration and development company with projects in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have announced its audited financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019.

Notice of AGM and Annual Report

The Annual General Meeting will be in Sydney, Australia, at 6pm local time on Thursday 13 August 2020 at 49 Pennant Ave, Denistone East NSW 2112, Australia.

Information on the resolutions to be considered at the AGM can be found in the Notice of AGM that has been made available to shareholders of the Company as an electronic communication along with forms of proxy and direction as well as the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2018. The AGM Materials and Annual Report are available on KEFI’s website at www.kefi-minerals.com.

The Board takes its responsibility to safeguard the health of its shareholders, stakeholders and employees seriously and the AGM is being held in accordance with the current legislation in force as a result of COVID-19.  As a result, KEFI’s AGM will be held as a closed meeting and shareholders will not be permitted to attend in person this year.

As physical attendance at the AGM will not be permitted, shareholders who wish to register their votes on the resolutions to be put to the AGM should do so by completing and signing the proxy form that accompanies the Notice of AGM as soon as possible in accordance with the instructions printed on the proxy form.  Shareholders are advised to appoint the chairman of the meeting as their proxy to ensure that their vote is counted.  Any other named proxy will not be allowed to enter the meeting.

Because of these COVID-19 related restrictions, we will conduct a shareholder webinar to provide an informal presentation by senior management and answer questions. Shareholders are encouraged to submit questions. Details of the webinar will be announced separately.

Executive Chairman’s Report

KEFI’s patience and tenacity has established our position at the forefront of the gold and copper sector in one of the world’s great under-developed minerals provinces – the Arabian-Nubian Shield (“ANS”). Over the past year KEFI has continued to advance the Tulu Kapi Gold Project (the “Project” or “Tulu Kapi”) toward development in Ethiopia and has discovered a copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit (predominantly copper-gold) at Hawiah in Saudi Arabia.

We have decided to propose a name-change of the Company to KEFI Gold and Copper PLC, to reinforce our mission and recognise our now-established position in those metals through the discoveries and acquisitions we have made.

KEFI’s standing in both countries is that of a steadfast and respected operator of local joint ventures and exciting ground positions. In our view, KEFI has control of the most attractive project in each country. Our assets, relationships and people provide a strong platform to develop profitable mines in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. Even with political turmoil, capital market volatility and the global COVID-19 pandemic, KEFI continues to make progress.

It is notable that both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia have prioritised development of the mining sector and the relatively new leaders of both countries are implementing reforms to further develop and open up their societies and economies.

Gold has just recently become one of the best performing investment sectors, with the gold price increasing since our last Annual General Meeting by 20% from c. US$1,400/oz to c.US$1,700/ounce.

The current price provides compelling economics for KEFI’s projects and, in my view, gold prices could continue to increase as interest rates remain low as monetary expansion and government debt continues to rise globally. The spot gold price now also sits at more than US$600/oz higher than our Tulu Kapi Ore Reserves assumption of US$1,098/oz set in 2015 and US$300/oz higher than our recently revised base case assumption of US$1,400/oz.

The Board of Directors is mindful that our schedule setbacks have tested the patience of shareholders as well as that of the communities that host us, even though much is attributable to extraneous factors beyond the Company’s control. To maximise alignment with shareholders, the Company encourages investment in Company shares by the Board and Senior Management who have, in aggregate, invested more into Company shares since KEFI took control of the Project in 2014 than they have, in aggregate, received as cash remuneration. And some key external service providers have accepted payment in shares. We know that none of these key contributors have sold any of those shares. The Company’s Board is deeply appreciative of all its personnel’s dedication and of the support the Company receives from all stakeholders.

Along with fellow Directors and Management, I strongly believe that we now have the opportunity to advance and excel in what will be a rebound for our sector and our locations. This targeted success will have resulted from your support and the Company’s caution, focus and tenacity. Now should be opportune to develop our first operation and for KEFI to also go onto the front foot in both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia for growth from exploration.

Development-Ready Gold Mine – Tulu Kapi

Our first production is planned at Tulu Kapi in the Oromia Region of Western Ethiopia. The planned Tulu Kapi open pit gold mine and processing facility is typical of many such “open-pit-CIL-gold-projects” around the world and uses standard technology and the latest industry practices, long-applied in mature highly-regulated mining jurisdictions such as Scandinavia, Australia and North America. Tulu Kapi has an Ore Reserve of 1.1 million ounces of gold within the Mineral Resources of 1.7 million ounce of gold. Tulu Kapi will also provide an operating base in the heart of Ethiopia’s most prolific gold district where gold has been mined for millenia.

Our key priority over the past year has been to finalise the Tulu Kapi funding. Along with our longstanding partner, the Government of Ethiopia, we have designed TKGM as a “public-private partnership”. Whilst locally termed a “partnership” the TKGM corporate structure would remain unaffected other than introducing new minority shareholders, with KEFI remaining the controlling shareholder.  To that end, we have worked hard with an Ethiopian private sector investment company with a view to it joining us. We hope they succeed despite the current local liquidity strains experienced and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are preparing to introduce other investors as required.

In late 2019, KEFI announced that it had selected its preferred project infrastructure finance proposal, being a bank-loan based proposal received from Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (“TDB”) and Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC”), two leading African development finance institutions as underwriters and co-lenders (the “Co-Lenders”). A term sheet was signed, subject to their internal credit approval processes. Subsequently, key provisions which required regulatory review for foreign loans has received approvals from the Ethiopian central bank. In preparation for financial close of the Project funding, TKGM continues to work closely with Project contractors (Perenti and Lycopodium) and the Co-Lenders. This work includes documentation, repricing contracts and adjusting all our detailed plans to take account of the various COVID-19 protocols. The updated 2020 Tulu Kapi Plan now forms the basis for planning.

The Directors of TKGM and KEFI have resolved that, notwithstanding COVID-19, the Company remain focused on using every reasonable effort to preserve the overall scheduled target of starting gold production at Tulu Kapi in 2022 and remain focused on financial close of the Project funding in October 2020.

The 2020 Tulu Kapi Plan now has more reliable assumptions due to finalisation of infrastructure design and the updated cost inputs. In light of the improved gold price environment, we have adopted a gold price range of US$1,400-1,800/oz for illustrative modelling purposes. Against this gold price range the updated economic projections indicate an attractive outlook for returns, and are as follows:

o  All-in Sustaining Costs of US$856-884/oz, (note that royalty costs increase with the gold price);

o  All-in Costs (“AIC”) of US$1,066-1,094/oz;

o  Average EBITDA of US$78-129 million per annum.

KEFI bases the finance structure on a flat gold price of US$1,400/oz, the costs and schedules of the 2020 Tulu Kapi Plan, founded on the JORC (2012) based Ore Reserve Report (Snowden 2015), and the refined Definitive Feasibility Study as optimised between our Project management team and the principal contractors. We have then run a range of sensitivity analyses to ensure robust coverage of fixed obligations under a range of scenarios. The plans and analyses are, as usual, being reviewed by independent experts for the Co-Lenders, for full finance closing.

During construction, we will appoint the plant and mine managers and they will continue to refine the 2020 Tulu Kapi Plan in light of 2021 grade-control drilling in the first mining zones and we will review the cut-off grade which was based on what now appears to be an overly conservative gold price of US$1,098/oz.

KEFI’s Exploration Programmes

The Arabian-Nubian Shield has been the Company’s focus since 2008 when KEFI was invited to be the operator of an exploration joint venture in Saudi Arabia. The discoveries since then, by ourselves at Jibal Qutman (gold) and Hawiah (copper-gold), and others in projects such as Jabel Sayed (Barrack Gold in Saudi Arabia) and at Dish Mountain (Allied Gold in Ethiopia) since then, have reinforced our excitement.

KEFI, through its local-joint venture companies, has a portfolio of exploration licences and applications of over 2,000 square kilometres at various stages within highly prospective areas selected from the proprietary database we have been developing and refining since 2006. Our exploration programmes will advance in parallel with the development activities.

Our most recent discovery, in late 2019, was of copper-zinc-gold-silver mineralisation at Hawiah in Saudi Arabia. The first 69 drill holes identified three distinct massive sulphide lodes which vary in thickness from 3 metres up to a maximum of 19 metres. The overall results to date were encouraging and we are working towards reporting a maiden Mineral Resource for Hawiah in accordance with the JORC Code shortly.

For the purposes of indicating the potential economic importance for KEFI shareholders, the in-situ metal content of the initially interpreted 12 million tonnes at Hawiah, at current metal prices, would approximate the analogous in-situ metal content of the 1 million ounce reserve in the open-pit at KEFI’s Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia. This reflects an assumed 2% copper-equivalent average grade, which initial assay results would suggest is reasonable. The system has significant exploration potential at depth where it remains open. It also has exploration potential in the oxidised zone at surface and, more speculatively, in the original feeder or stockwork zone which has not yet been located.

In Ethiopia, the most advanced and immediately significant exploration target is also at depth below the known deposit, in this case focused on the continuation of the Tulu Kapi deposit below the planned open pit. In our view, the potential to expand Tulu Kapi’s Mineral Resource is high as it remains open along strike, down plunge and at depth. The economic potential is also enhanced by the gold grades increasing with depth as well as the ore lenses thickening, making underground mining potentially attractive. The average grade of the Mineral Resource below the planned open pit is 5.7g/t gold.

A number of other gold prospects have been identified within trucking distance of Tulu Kapi. Proposed exploration activity will be significantly expanded with this focus, as these prospects have the scope and potential to add substantial value by providing additional ore to the Tulu Kapi processing facility.

The potential of the Arabian-Nubian Shield has recently been more widely recognised and the world’s two largest gold companies, Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining, are now active in Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia respectively.

Capital Management

The improving gold price and strong outlook has not been reflected in the share prices of smaller gold mining companies, as demonstrated by the VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Mine (“GDXJ”) trading at only a quarter of its peak in 2011 when gold was trading at c.US$1,900/ounce. GDXJ is based on +US$100 million companies and the stock market for micro-caps like KEFI have generally performed much worse.

In both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, our project predecessors and partners have provided much of the project funding to date. And going forward, development funding will be largely at project levels, in TKGM or G&M as the case may be. Nevertheless, KEFI shareholders have suffered dilution as KEFI funded the exploration, acquisition and early progress and all of us long term shareholders certainly deserve to see reward for our patience and effort. KEFI pushes forward and it now seems to be the most supportive environment for our sector and our emerging region since our IPO.

The Directors are seeking to close the gap between the Company’s market capitalisation and the significantly higher intrinsic valuations of the Company’s projects. For example, KEFI’s share of Tulu Kapi’s NPV (see explanation in Finance Director’s Report) at the current gold price of US$1,700/oz, equates to £153 million, according to the Company’s financial model prepared by its project finance adviser, which is approximately nine times the Company’s current market capitalisation of £18 million at the time of writing. This places no value on KEFI’s beneficial interest Jibal Qutman Gold and Hawiah Copper-Gold in Saudi Arabia.

For good order, a key caveat to our plans for the coming year is how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out over time. At the time of writing, both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia have fortunately been impacted much less severely than most other countries. Infrastructure projects and mine developments such as Tulu Kapi are likely to be key contributors to reviving economies from the unprecedented disruption caused by the pandemic. Further information in respect of funding is included within the strategic report and note 2.  

Annual General Meeting

Post the period end we welcomed RAB Capital as a substantial shareholder and we are extremely grateful for the patience and support of our communities and our Governments, our principal contractors, our hard-working small organisation of highly-experienced personnel and, of course, our 1,000’s of extremely patient shareholders. We humbly acknowledge and appreciate that all shareholder resolutions over the past six years have received a very supportive 90% or more approval at the respective general meetings.

The Annual General Meeting will be in Sydney, Australia at 6pm on Thursday 13 August 2020 at 49 Pennant Ave, Denistone East NSW 2112, Australia.

The Board takes its responsibility to safeguard the health of its shareholders, stakeholders and employees seriously and the AGM is being held in accordance with the current legislation in force as a result of COVID-19.  As a result, KEFI’s AGM will be held as a closed meeting and shareholders will not be permitted to attend in person this year.

As physical attendance at the AGM will not be permitted, shareholders who wish to register their votes on the resolutions to be put to the AGM should do so by completing and signing the proxy form that accompanies the Notice of AGM as soon as possible in accordance with the instructions printed on the proxy form.  Shareholders are advised to appoint the chairman of the meeting as their proxy to ensure that their vote is counted.  Any other named proxy will not be allowed to enter the meeting.

Because of these COVID-19 related restrictions, we will conduct a shareholder webinar to provide an informal presentation by senior management and answer questions. Shareholders are encouraged to submit questions. Details will be announced separately.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Anagnostaras-Adams

Executive Chairman

29 June 2020

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