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US$55 million Hellyer Mine debt facility closed with ING Bank

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

NQ Minerals Plc has announced that its subsidiary Hellyer Gold Mines Pty Ltd and ING Bank N.V. have signed a US$55 million loan facility (ING Facility). The company’s intention with respect to this facility was previously announced by the company on 10 August 2020.

The funds from the ING Facility are being used to immediately re-tire all project debt maturing in 2020. This project debt was secured over the assets of, and shares in, Hellyer, the company’s tailings re-processing project in Tasmania, Australia.

At the same time, Hellyer has signed life-of-mine marketing agreements with Traxys Europe S.A. for the purchase of all the metal concentrates to be produced from its tailings reprocessing activities.

The ING Facility has a 6-year duration with scheduled monthly amortisation repayments of principal commencing in August 2021 and continuing until the final maturity date. A cash sweep mechanism, included in the facility, may require early repayment of principal from all or part of the surplus cash available from the Hellyer project activities.

The ING Facility is secured on a senior basis over the assets of Hellyer, which consist of the tailings reserves and the processing plant at the Hellyer site, as well as the shares in Hellyer, which is 100% owned by NQ Minerals. The facility agreement includes reporting, cash management, hedging, prepayment and covenant arrangements and obligations that are tailored for a debt facility of this nature. The company’s existing inter-creditor arrangements have been amended to accommodate the consequent changes to NQ’s lender group, as well as to its pre-existing security agreements and streaming arrangements.

The ING Facility bears an initial interest rate of Libor plus 6.5%/yr which falls to Libor plus 6%/yr once hedges have been executed and this is expected to generate interest savings for Hellyer of about US$3.4 million/yr with immediate effect.

NQ Mineral’s Chairman, David Lenigas, said: “The signing of this US$55 million facility with ING is a major milestone in NQ’s corporate evolution and bodes well for the future of our mining operations at Hellyer and elsewhere in Australia. The completion of this refinancing transaction allows us to both reduce funding costs and align funding maturities in line with mining operations.

“I would like to thank the many people, within ING, our project funders and NQ, as well as all the respective legal teams, who have worked tirelessly on closing this important facility. In particular, I would like to also thank the Traxys team who, in addition to their initial project funding of Hellyer and marketing the Hellyer concentrates, introduced the company to ING and have assisted at each step in the refinance process.

The ability to complete the agreement against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the effort and excellent collaboration between each of the parties throughout the process.”

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