Lucara Diamond Company has approved the Karowe underground expansion project (UGP) following the Financial Close and satisfaction of all Conditions Precedent pursuant to the previously announced senior secured project financing debt package of $220 million (about P2.2bn) signed on July 12, 2021.
Lucara president and CEO, Eira Thomas said an utilisation notice from the $170 million project loan facility has been accepted and the first funding for the Karowe underground expansion is expected to be received in mid-September.
Capital costs for the UGP totalling $534 million, will be met with funds from a combination of the facilities, the projected cash flows from the Karowe open-pit mine during the underground construction period, and the equity financings totalling $32.8 million closed July 15, resulting in the UGP being fully financed. CFO and corporate secretary, Zara Boldt said construction efforts have ramped up since the facilities documentation was executed in mid-July.
“We are delighted to have completed this significant milestone following the signing of loan documentation in mid-July,” she said.
“We would like to thank our lenders and advisors for their efforts towards achieving financial close of the facilities.”
Ventilation shaft pre-sinking has commenced with the completion of the first set of cover holes, and a total of four blasts occurring to date with continued drilling, mucking, and installation of ground support on a 24-hour basis.
The ventilation shaft depth below the shaft collar is currently at approximately 17 metres. Mobilisation to the site of the remaining pre-sinking equipment and contractors is underway.
Civil work on the remaining ventilation and production shaft infrastructure is progressing well, with mobilisation of temporary generators and civil works associated with the generator pad completed.