LUCARA Secures Credit Approved US$220 Million For The Underground expansion ofKarowe Mine (Botswana)
Eira Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Debswana recently announced good news for the company.
He said Lucara Diamond Corp. was pleased to announce that it has received credit approved commitments from a syndicate of five Mandated Lead Arrangers (the “MLAs”) for a senior secured project financing debt package of up to US$220 million (the “Facilities”) to fund the underground expansion at Lucara’s 100% owned Karowe Mine (“Karowe”) in Botswana.
The Facilities will include two tranches: A project finance facility of US$170 million to fund the development of the underground project, and a working capital facility of US$50 million to support the ongoing operation of the Karowe open-pit mine. Financial closing of the Facilities is subject to the satisfactory completion of definitive
documentation, and satisfaction of certain terms and conditions, including appropriate KYC checks.
The MLAs are ING Bank N.V. (“ING”), Natixis (“Natixis”), Societe Generale, London Branch (“Societe Generale”),Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC”) and Afreximbank (“Afrexim”). Eira Thomas, President, and CEO commented: “Securing credit commitments for the arrangement of +$200 million senior debt facilities from five leading international financial institutions, with significant mining and metals track records and experience in Africa, is an important achievement for Lucara and a strong
endorsement of our underground expansion plans.
The Karowe diamond mine remains one of the world’s highest margin diamond mines and in just over eight years of production, has yielded 4 of the 10 largest
diamonds in recorded history, including the 1,758 carats Sewelô, the largest diamond recovered from Botswana, and the 1,109 Lesedi La Rona which sold for US$53 million. This debt package will supplement cash flows from continued operations of the open pit over the next 5 years, extending Karowe’s mine life out from 2025 until at least 2040.
Eira Thomas said that “We look forward to working with this supportive group of MLAs towards the financial close as we continue to develop the underground project.
Additionally, Lucara is also pleased to announce an extension of its current working capital facility of US$50 million (the “Current Facility”) with Rand Merchant Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, London Branch. The Current Facility is expected to be extinguished when the project financing debt package achieves financial