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, has this morning announced that KEFI subsidiary Tulu Kapi Gold Mines Share Company has launched the Company’s Tulu Kapi Gold Project with its Ethiopian private and public sector partners, at the Second International Ethiopian Mining Conference and Exhibition, currently being held in Addis Ababa.
Project Next Steps
The Project has gained significant momentum in recent weeks and, after many unfortunate delays, is ready for the start of development. It is supported by all consortium members and the Ethiopian Government at all levels. KEFI has strong local partners, principal contractors and an on-the-ground-team. The Project also now has two alternative project infrastructure finance proposals to consider, the long-standing bond-lease based proposal and a conventional bank-project finance proposal from leading African banks.
The Project’s 24-month development schedule is expected to start in January 2020 and the Project consortium action plan has now been agreed.
Following the internal Ethiopian Government administrative issues having been resolved, as announced on 7th November 2019, TKGM’s three shareholders (KEFI, ANS Mining Share Company and the Ethiopian Government) have completed the following as planned:
- The Ethiopian Government’s internal administrative arrangements have been examined and refined to all stakeholder’s satisfaction;
- The TKGM’s shareholders agreement has been updated and circulated for approvals; and
- The equity subscription into TKGM is in the process of being carried out, comprising several steps which take some weeks to complete under local laws and procedures.
The planned total investments into TKGM are unchanged, but the details have been refined as follows:
· The Ethiopian Government investment remains at US$20 million (Ethiopian Birr-equivalent) and the Government is now at liberty to allocate its holdings between wholly-owned Government entities, as appropriate, to reinforce social licence; and
· ANS Mining’s investment remains at US$38 million (Ethiopian Birr-equivalent). The initial investment has been increased from US$11.4 million to US$15.2 million, being US$9.5 million upon short term closing and US$5.7 million in due course.
The initial Project equity investments are now just subject to normal disclosure and subscription protocols including Board approvals of final documents, notarisation and registration of the share subscription documents by the Ethiopian Department of Trade and Industry under Ethiopian law.
The remaining project equity instalments are tied to satisfactory progress in respect of:
· The offsite infrastructure being completed against milestones so that Government equity in TKGM may be issued; and
· The independent assessment reports being satisfactorily updated, as they have been satisfactorily updated this month, for closing of full project finance so that ANS Mining equity in TKGM may also be subscribed and issued.
Project Infrastructure Finance:
The Company is pleased to report that TKGM has recently been offered a bank-based project finance proposal and a term sheet by leading African banks as a competitive alternative to the long-standing bond-and-lease based debt financing proposal. The emergence of this alternative funding reflects the improved outlook for Ethiopia and of the Project in light of progress on the ground. The two proposals (bond-based and bank-based) have their own relative merits. Whilst the implementation timetables of the two are similar, the differences between the proposals are in respect of:
(a) the implementation steps;
(b) the quantum and profile of net cash flow after capital-servicing; and
(c) the flexibility to prepay or refinance in the future once in production. The preferred route will be chosen shortly.
The recent Project contracting developments have been:
· The Ethiopian Roads Authority and The Ethiopian Electricity Power Organisation have committed to a deadline for the new all-weather road and the power connection respectively;
· The Government has committed to an aggregate cost for all the off-site infrastructure; and
· The Project Contractors, Lycopodium Limited and Perenti Global Limited (formerly Ausdrill Limited), have commenced procedures for locking-in contract pricing.
Commenting KEFI Minerals and TKGM’s Executive Chairman, Mr Harry Anagnostaras-Adams, said,
“I am delighted that the Project has reached this stage, after so many delays and setbacks as the country and the sector were going through quite an amazing change. We have shared the frustrations of our shareholders and our partners, but I now believe the Project has encouraging momentum. As first mover for modern mining in Ethiopia, we have done the heavy lifting with the authorities and the community and we can now all share the benefits as we advance. It is especially pleasing to see the strengthening of capital market interest and support from capital providers both inside and outside the Ethiopia for the Project.”