TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – World Bank Group member the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested about £5.3-million (C$10-million) in TSX- and Aim-listed Aureus Mining to support an optimised plan for the New Liberty mine project, in Liberia, in the wake of the Ebola crisis.
The IFC said on Wednesday that the equity financing would help Aureus cope with additional costs, as a result of operating throughout the Ebola outbreak, and supported the company's ongoing work in Liberia, a country actively seeking to use its natural resources for long-term economic growth.
The IFC bills itself as the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.
Under the terms of the private placement, IFC subscribed for 29.24-million Aureus shares at C$0.34 apiece. The IFC investment was made in connection with a brokered private placement for total proceeds of C$8.3-million.
The transaction lifted IFC’s holdings in Aureus to 17.42% from 12.8%.
IFC's investment followed an $11.1-million equity investment in July last year. The investor was also providing environmental and social advice to Aureus as it worked to complete the project and continued further exploration work in Liberia.
"IFC anchored this additional investment in Aureus because we feel the company's updated mine plan makes sound financial sense. Aureus has demonstrated its ability to handle adversity by continuing to build its project throughout the Ebola crisis and continuing to [implement] its innovative community engagement programmes. We look forward to successful mine completion later this year," IFC global head of mining Tom Butler commented.
According to World Health Organisation statistics, the Ebola crisis that struck the West African region since the end of 2013 had by Wednesday claimed the lives of 9 380 people.
Aureus had estimated that the outbreak had resulted in about $18-million in additional direct and indirect costs for the New Liberty project, currently Liberia's first commercial gold mine.
The project entailed building a greenfield openpit mine, in the Grand Cape Mount County, of north-west Liberia. In addition to paying revenues to the government, the project was expected to provide 300 jobs in a remote region of the country.
"We are delighted to have this additional support from IFC, which will allow us to continue the development of the New Liberty project despite the challenges posed by the Ebola outbreak. It is an endorsement of the tireless work of our construction and operations teams and we look forward to continuing to work to deliver benefits to Liberia and our shareholders," Aureus president and CEO David Reading noted.
IFC might from time to time increase or decrease its holdings of common shares or other securities of Aureus, depending on market and other conditions.