JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Toronto- and London-listed Noventa is exploring two alternative funding options to raise another $35-million to ensure the group meets its bridging loan payment obligations, as well as to ensure sufficient working capital for a number of its projects, CEO Fernando Fernandez-Torres said on Thursday.
The company, which hoped to raise the funds through loan financing from its largest shareholder, Richmond, or through an equity offering, said that the funding needed to complete its much-delayed Marropino process plant upgrade, in Mozambique, had increased marginally.
Fernandez-Torres estimated that a minimum of a further $16.7-million in funding, after expenses, would be required to repay a $10-million bridging loan facility, of which $7.7-million has been drawn, by July 31, as well as supply sufficient working capital until the mine starts generating positive cash flows during the first quarter of 2013.
Another $13.3-million of the proposed raising would be allocated to the developments of the Morrua project, while $500 000 would fund the company’s initial activities at Mutala. Both projects are in Mozambique.
Another $2.5-million would be used for Noventa’s licences, as well as increase its presence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and $2-million would be set aside for expenses.
The company, which secured additional funds of $36.9-million in August, of which $6.8-million has been received during 2012, said that following a difficult 2011/12 period, it was “back on track” to becoming a profitable, value-creating group.
Noventa established operations in a conflict-free zone that held rich tantalum and tin mineralization in the Katanga province of the DRC.
“Initial supplies of conflict-free tantalum have already been exported from the DRC for processing in the US under the American-led 'Solutions for Hope' programme,” said Fernandez-Torres, adding that tantalum concentrate exports from the DRC were expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Further, Noventa started pilot-scale mining activities at its Mutala project, including the recruitment of local workers, and continued further geological studies to develop a mining plan and upgrade the resource.
At the company’s $60-million Morrua project, further geological testing, including drilling and bulk sampling, would also be initiated in efforts to complete a bankable prefeasibility study, which, if successful, would kick off an offtake agreement during the second half of 2012. This would push Morrua into production during 2013 or early 2014.