Tulu Kapi gold project, Ethiopia – update

29th March 2024 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Tulu Kapi gold project, Ethiopia – update

Photo by: Kefi Gold and Copper

Name of the Project
Tulu Kapi gold project.

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

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

Latest Developments
Kefi Gold and Copper has achieved further positive developments at the Tulu Kapi gold project, as it prepares for the project’s inauguration in the first half of this year.

All the required development budget of $320-million has been sourced at the subsidiary level.

Following the final approvals from the lead bank, all other parties started their formal approval processes, which are now all advancing, notably including progress with the co-lending bank and the local equity investors.

Further, recent regulatory changes have facilitated the improvement to the equity funding structure, which has lowered overall finance costs, Kefi has reported.

The regulatory changes of note were the foreign exchange exemptions, the increase in the maximum permissible ratio of debt to equity, and the re-investment of the local currency (Ethiopian birr) retained earnings of multinational corporations (MNCs) into new business sectors.

Within the development capital budget of $320-million, $100-million was to be provided through the issuance of two types of equity risk notes (ERNs), one type for MNCs with no operations in Ethiopia and another lower-cost ERN for those with accumulated retained earnings in Ethiopian operations.

Kefi reports that it can now focus on the lower-cost ERN – fixed at 12% yearly.

The company has confirmed a longstanding and large MNC investor in the ERN has now received initial board approvals.

All syndicate members have agreed a schedule for all remaining prelaunch tasks, including their respective formal approvals ahead of full financial close in mid-2024.

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.