“KEFI has now assembled the proposed full project funding consortium, including contractors, equity and non-equity capital and is expected to move towards full financial close later this year by closing out the remaining Ethiopian government processes and approvals, along with completion of due diligence and formal documentation,” said KEFI’s chairman Harry Anagnostaras-Adams.
Broadly speaking, the new consortium is coming in on the same terms as the Ethiopian government and gives a combined 46% of the project equity to a combination of the Ethiopian government and local investors.
A group compromising mining contractor Ausdrill, engineer Lycopodium, and the Ethiopian government is responsible for the infrastructure and building work.
Lycopodium will build the on-mine infrastructure (including the plant) under a hybrid EPC/EPCM contract, said broker RFC Ambrian.
This is planned to be funded through the issue of US$160mln and US$50mln of equity including the US$30mln and US$20mln from the Ethiopian government.
Production will amount to 980,000oz over a 7.5-year mine life at average sustaining costs of US$773/oz over its life.
Reserves stand at 1.05Moz, grading 2.1 g/t, with operations to be a conventional open pit and CIL-based project.
Better finance terms
Adams added that the net present value (NPV) indicated in last year’s definitive feasibility study had risen to US$192mln from US$159mln due to higher throughput via the processing plant in the early years than assumed in 2017.
Forecast production rises to 135,000oz from 115,000oz, while all-in-costs increase to US$973 per oz from US$937 per oz.
NPV also gets a boost from the expected better finance terms, said Adams.
A scoping study on a potential underground resource at Tulu Kapi suggests the production rate can rise to 150,000oz pa from Year 4.
In addition, KEFI has identified more satellite targets within trucking distance of the mine site.
"Independent reviews of the project plans and associated economics have been completed and re-affirm their robustness and attractiveness."
"KEFI's remaining 54% beneficial interest in the project, along the lines previously foreshadowed, gives the company an implied valuation of US$66 million based on these transaction metrics, whilst not including any value for the Tulu Kapi underground deposit or the exploration prospects in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, the largest countries within the highly prospective Arabian Nubian Shield where KEFI is focused,” added Adams.
Jibal Qutman still developing
In Saudi, KEFI has a 40%-stake in the Jibal Qutman project, where new country-wide mining laws are being introduced in a bid to encourage the development of the sector into an important part of the economy.
Equity finance a significant step, says broker
Broker RFC Ambrian said: “The share price has reacted very positively to the [equity finance] news.
"We reiterate our ‘buy’ rating and target price of 5.6p. We expect that progress towards construction — planned for September — will be reflected in a reduction of the current deep discount to its estimated NAV.
“We note the company’s estimated unrisked NAV of 14p/share We anticipate that the next major uplift in the value of the company will be on the completion of the bond financing.
“The valuation is also highly leveraged to the gold price, with our risked TP increasing to 8.5p at a gold price of US$1,400/oz.“
At 3.4p, KEFI is valued at £11.7mln.