Kefi receives approval from final credit committee to go ahead with Tulu Kapi gold project

10th January 2024 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

Aim-listed Kefi Gold and Copper has received confirmation of conditional final credit committee approval from the lead lender for its “shovel-ready" Ethiopian development project, the high-grade Tulu Kapi gold project. 

This follows the analogous approvals from other key syndicate members, including lead contractors and lead equity parties, and key Ethiopian government actions in 2023, such as the negotiated and reported exemptions from foreign exchange restrictions, commitments to provide permanent security protection, and the approval of additional protections for the lenders for the project. 

The entire $320-million finance package is designed at the subsidiary level, with syndicate members who know the country and are keen to support Kefi in a tightly coordinated and safe manner. 

Kefi is now mobilising in the field to prepare the community. So far, the company has briefed church leaders and congregations, and has provided distributed medical treatment for victims of a recent malaria outbreak through the Tulu Kapi Charitable Endowment.  

In parallel with the social engagement programme, Kefi said that it is preparing detailed definitive documentation for signing between the project syndicate financiers.  

The company said that the full project launch, including funding drawdown, is on course for the first half of the year, subject to the satisfaction of all the standard conditions precedent for a transaction of this type, independent confirmation that the project is ready for launch from security and community standpoints, and final board approvals of all parties. 

"The Ethiopian government and the lead syndicate members of our high-grade Tulu Kapi gold project have been working hard to support our project launch. The government has recently made strong commitments, including approving country membership (a set of protections for development finance institutions) for both of our project lenders, deregulation of exchange controls, and commitment to the preparation of security and our community. These government initiatives have played a very important supportive role in allowing the project to move forward,” Kefi Gold and Copper executive chairman Harry Anagnostaras-Adams said on January 10. 

He noted that, by the end of 2023, Kefi had updated all independent technical due diligence and reaffirmed conditional approvals by all lead members of the project syndicate, including conditional final credit committee approval of the lead lender.  

“This has now given us the confidence to trigger preparations for project launch, including progressing the approvals by the other syndicate members, preparing security and community, the readiness of which will be independently assessed, finalising legal documentation, and the final board approvals for financial closing by all syndicate members,” Anagnostaras-Adams said. 

He believes that the targeted value-add from project implementation is many times today's Kefi share price, as illustrated by the various industry-standard valuation benchmarks historically reported in the company’s corporate presentations.  

“Kefi believes these are realistic targets as we successfully implement Kefi's strictly risk-managed development plans, whilst also addressing our highly prospective exploration pipeline in both Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia,” Anagnostaras-Adams said.