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Tulu Kapi gold project, Ethiopia – update

IMAGE OF TULU KAPI DRILL CORE

Photo by Kefi Gold and Copper

16th February 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Tulu Kapi gold project.

Location
Western Ethiopia.

Project Owner/s
Kefi Gold and Copper (formerly KEFI Minerals) will own 80% of the exploration and holding company for the government of Ethiopia, KME, which, in turn, will own 56% of Tulu Kapi Gold Mines Share Company (TKGM), thus bestowing Kefi with a 45% beneficial interest in the project.

Project Description
Tulu Kapi has an ore reserve estimate of 15.4-million tonnes at 2.1 g/t gold for 1.1-million ounces of gold.

Openpit gold production is estimated at 140 000 oz/y over a seven-year mine life.

Total life-of-mine production is estimated at 980 000 oz.

The conventional openpit mining operation will include a carbon-in-leach processing plant. The mine will be connected to Ethiopia’s electricity grid through a new, 47-km-long, 132 kV dedicated power line relatively close to the country’s major hydropower-generation source. An emergency diesel power plant will also be installed to provide emergency backup power for critical process equipment in the event of grid power failure.

A preliminary economic assessment has indicated the economic attractiveness of mining the underground deposit adjacent to the Tulu Kapi openpit after the startup of the openpit and the repaying of project debts through positive cash flows.

Potential Job Creation
The project will employ 1 000 people directly and up to 10 000 people indirectly.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
$320-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Production is expected to start in 2025.

Latest Developments
Following meetings with senior representatives of stakeholders for Kefi’s Tulu Kapi project at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, all parties in the funding syndicate for the project will go to their respective committees to approve the $320-million transaction for the project.

The Ethiopian federal government has also reaffirmed that its equity capital investment has been fully documented, committed and already partly invested.

Kefi received confirmation of conditional final credit committee approval from the lead lender for the project in January 2024.

The contractors in the syndicate have all confirmed their intention and readiness to enter into the already drafted definitive documentation to allow for full project launch in the first half of 2024.

Kefi is pleased with the long-standing collaboration with all parties involved and the current intensification of efforts flowing from government's key positive actions towards the end of 2023.

It has also started the requisite low-cost launch preparations to enable the project to progress safely and efficiently.

Preparations include dispatching personnel into the field to brief the community and conduct the required site works; dismantling the old exploration camp and installing new communication systems and staging bases along the company’s transport route as part of the upgrade of safety systems; and works by contractors.

Further, the long-agreed $320-million financing plan – excluding the mining fleet provided by the contractor and excluding historical expenditures of about $100-million – has been refined.

This involves the debt portion of $190-million that remains from lead lender the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade and Development Bank, and co-lender the Africa Finance Corporation; the $40-million from share issues by Kefi subsidiaries that remains from the federal and regional government; and the $70-million equity risk notes that remain largely from local subsidiaries of multinational corporations that have been given government permission to invest local currency and be repaid in hard currency, repayable in cash or equity at Kefi's election as from year four at then market prices.

Additionally, having received the recent clarifications, Kefi has indicated that the subsidiary-level equity-ranking product-linked funding piece of $20-million can now also be finalised.

Discussions have started with well-known industry-specialist financiers.

Key Contractors, Suppliers and Consultants
Principal contractors: Lycopodium (process plant design and construction); PW Mining and the Ethiopian Electric Power Company and the Ethiopian Roads Authority.

Contact Details for Project Information
Kefi Gold and Copper, tel +90 232 381 9431, fax +90 232 381 9071 or email info@kefi-minerals.com.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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