03/12/2018 - 15:53

NAIF backing for another miner

03/12/2018 - 15:53

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Verdant Minerals has entered into a non-binding agreement for a $160 million debt facility from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, adding to a string of mining projects in recent months to reach a funding agreement with the fund.

NAIF backing for another miner
The Ammaroo project is estimated to cost $344 million.

Verdant Minerals has entered into a non-binding agreement for a $160 million debt facility from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund, adding to a string of mining projects in recent months to reach a funding agreement with the fund.

In a statement to the ASX, the Darwin-based company said the funds would go towards its flagship Ammaroo phosphate project, which is located 220 kilometres south-east of Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, and is estimated to cost $344 million.

Verdant’s financing offer is contingent on several factors, including environmental approval, native title approval and finalising terms for the remainder of the project debt.

NAIF chief executive Laurie Walker said the agreement was indicative of how the fund would support major projects in Australia’s north.

"This is a demonstration of how NAIF can work with stakeholders to help them understand how its concessional financing can support the development of a project which has the potential to provide substantial benefits to Northern Australia and the Northern Territory," Ms Walker said.

NAIF came into effect on July 1 2016, with a budget of $5 billion for infrastructure projects in the northern areas of Western Australia and Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

After failing to attract adequate interest, in April this year NAIF broadened the scope of its eligibility criteria, including eliminating a $50 million project threshold and removing a 50 per cent cap on the debt taken on by the NAIF.

Since the changes, several Western Australian miners have been granted approval, or are under consideration, to receive funding from NAIF.

This includes Sheffield Resources, which in September secured $95 million to develop power, road and port infrastructure for its Thunderbird mineral sands project near Derby.

In August, NAIF also signed off on a $15 million upgrade of Pippingarra Road, a 70km public road to access the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum mine being developed by Pilbara Minerals, near Port Hedland.

Last month, NAIF announced EcoMag’s plans to develop a commercial-scale plant near Karratha, which would turn waste salt water into high purity magnesium, had progressed through to the due diligence phase for funding.

 

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