Aim-listed Kefi Minerals is advancing activities at its Tulu Kapi gold project, in Ethiopia, at a significant pace, with project equity investor ANS Mining Share also planning to release funds for the project by month-end.
The gold and copper exploration and development company has accelerated its current programme of works after the Ethiopian federal and regional government agencies noted expectations of providing, in the next few weeks, the handful of remaining regulatory consents required for triggering the project.
The relocation of a newly recruited construction manager and a senior site risk manager to the site is under way.
By next week, they will have joined the 100 locally recruited personnel hired to clear the land and man the drilling rigs required to complete the geotechnical surveys for the final design of the foundations for the processing infrastructure and dam walls.
Other programme works comprise the approvals of final community resettlement plans, approvals of project financing details and the updated works programme and schedule, leading to the planned first gold pour in the second half of 2020.
Further, the project’s equity investor ANS expects to release, upon receipt of the government consents, $9-million of equity funds, which subsidiary Tulu Kapi Gold Mines (TKGM) will use to fund the planned first-quarter 2019 project activities, including the first phase of community resettlement and ongoing project financing and planning costs.
ANS also committed to release an additional $9-million of equity funds at the end of the first quarter to fund the second-quarter project activities.
“This will ensure that TKGM can itself commit to completing community resettlement and the first phase of project construction prior to the closing of the $160-million bond/lease nonequity capital project financing,” Kefi MD Harry Anagnostaras-Adams said.
The remaining balance of ANS's planned $30-million to $38-million equity investment is expected to coincide with full project finance close as soon as the nonequity component is accessed.
“By sequencing the project funding in this manner, it provides the opportunity to start the programme of works with equity funding and thereby expand the post construction period available to build cash flow prior to first repayment to the lender/lessor,” he noted.