Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 October 2008 – Equinox Minerals Limited – an international exploration and mine development company, dual listed on the Canadian (Toronto) and Australian stock exchanges – has signed a new US$80 million (R650 million) loan facility, underwritten by Standard Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Bank, to fund the delayed completion of its massive Lumwana copper project in north-western Zambia.
Announcing this to the media here, the company pointed out that the new loan facility was structured on similar terms to the commercial tranche of the US$583.8 million (R4.7 billion) project finance debt facilities originally announced at the end of 2006.
Equinox said the new loan facility would enable the company to meet the additional working capital requirements that had resulted from the delayed startup. On 7 July 2008 the company announced that an electrical fire incident at the project had caused damage to the 20MVA transformer and adjacent 11KV substation, subsequently delaying commissioning and the commencement of copper concentrate production.
The company reports that rectification works remain on schedule for a December 2008 commissioning with all replacement equipment now available on site for installation and remediation. It says peak production of copper at 165 000 tpa is expected by 2010.
Equinox president and CEO Craig Williams commented, “The new loan facility is evidence of the strong confidence our banking syndicate has in the project. Along with confirmation of receipt of our incident insurance indemnity, Equinox and its shareholders can now be afforded – during this unprecedented period of market volatility – the necessary levels of stability and liquidity required to move the project expeditiously into copper concentrate production and to deliver further shareholder value,” he added.