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BMR Group PLC (BMR)

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Monday 23 October, 2017

BMR Group PLC

Proposed financing & corporate update

RNS Number : 2590U
BMR Group PLC
23 October 2017
 

BMR Group PLC

 

("BMR", the "Group" or the "Company")

 

Proposed financing of Kabwe Zinc-Lead tailings re-processing operation

and

Corporate update

 

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation 596/2014.

 

Highlights

 

·          The Company has entered into a new arrangement for the proposed funding, construction and operation of the Kabwe zinc-lead tailings re-processing plant ("Kabwe Plant") with Jubilee Platinum Plc ("Jubilee");

·          The arrangement is subject to technical review by Jubilee and final agreement of work programme and legal documentation by no later than 28 February 2018;

·          Under the proposed arrangement, Jubilee would provide up to £2.3m for construction of the Kabwe Plant;

·          BMR would retain 100% ownership of the Kabwe Large Scale Mining Licence, tailings and infrastructure (the "Kabwe Assets"), and a minimum of 60% of the economic interest in the long term post-tax profits of Kabwe operations;

·          BMR and Jubilee targeting completion of the construction and  commissioning of the Kabwe Plant by 30 June 2018 and commencement of operations and revenue generation thereafter;

·          BMR has undertaken to terminate the financing arrangements with African Compass International Limited ("ACI") by 28 February 2018.

 

Alex Borrelli, Chairman of BMR, commented:

 

"I am delighted to reach this agreement with Jubilee after an extended period of negotiation with a number of groups. BMR has chosen to advance the Kabwe operation with Jubilee given its strong credentials and high degree of technical, operational and managerial experience. We believe that we have secured a strong partner to co-develop Kabwe and despite the recent disappointments the Company is now in a good position especially at a time when both lead and zinc commodity prices are performing strongly.

 

"Our principal objective is to ensure that, subject to Jubilee's review, we can complete the construction, and start commissioning, of the Kabwe Plant by 30 June 2018 with revenue generation commencing thereafter. BMR is confident that Kabwe is a robust and feasible operation and we look forward to co-developing this project with Jubilee.

 

"Also, in addition to the work at Kabwe, we expect that BMR and Jubilee will work towards integrating the treatment of high grade zinc ore from the Star Zinc mine, in which BMR has a 49% interest, at an early stage at the Kabwe Plant which should lead to enhanced returns."

 

 

Summary of arrangement with Jubilee

 

The Board is delighted to report that BMR has executed a binding term sheet (the "Binding Term Sheet") with Jubilee with the potential to provide financing for the completion of the construction of the Kabwe Plant subject to a review and further negotiations that will then determine a Joint Venture Agreement to be entered into by no later than 28 February 2018. 

 

Background on Jubilee

 

Jubilee is admitted to trading on AIM with a market capitalisation of c.£48 million.  It is a mining exploration and development company with a strategy to create an integrated mine-to-metals company with a primary focus on platinum. This is based on modern and thoroughly proven smelting technology to process the Company's own and others' high-chrome PGE concentrates and, importantly, to improve mining environments by reprocessing mine tailings dumped by other miners.  Jubilee is developing and has successfully completed a number of joint venture projects in Africa and elsewhere.

 

Further details regarding Jubilee are available on its website at www.jubileeplatinum.com.

 

Overview of the Binding Term Sheet

 

·     Jubilee to immediately make available a £300,000 facility to a subsidiary of BMR (that holds the Kabwe Assets) by way of a non-interest bearing unsecured limited recourse loan facility;

·     New joint venture operating company to be incorporated and appointed as operator of the Kabwe Plant;

·     Jubilee to be issued with preference shares ("Preference Shares") representing 15% of the voting rights in the joint venture company;

·     Jubilee will determine by no later than 28 February 2018 whether to enter into a definitive joint venture agreement (the "Joint Venture Agreement") with the Group, following a review of the Kabwe operations;

·     Jubilee, subject to entering into the Joint Venture Agreement, to advance up to a further £2.0 million of debt finance, to be granted security on the total debt and earn up to 40% interest in the enlarged voting rights of the joint venture company; and

·     The Preferred Shares would have preferred right to receive 100% of distributed profits from Kabwe Operations until preferred shareholders have received distributions equal to a 30 per cent. premium on the debts then advanced by Jubilee (the "Jubilee Distribution"), whereupon the Preferred Shares will convert into ordinary shares of the joint venture operating company.

 

 

Details of the Binding Term Sheet

 

The Binding Term Sheet between BMR and Jubilee provides unconditionally as follows:

 

BMR to incorporate Kabwe Operations Limited ("Kabwe Operations"), a new wholly-owned subsidiary which shall have immediate access to a £300,000 facility from Jubilee ("Initial Payment") as a non-interest bearing (except as described below) unsecured limited recourse loan facility repayable out of Kabwe cash-flow only (the "Jubilee Debt Finance").;

Ø The Initial Payment will be back-to-back advanced by Kabwe Operations to BMR's wholly owned subsidiary Enviro Processing Limited ("EPL") to cover the cost of the review by Jubilee of BMR's technology and engineering plans for the Kabwe Plant and the projected cost to completion, and its strategy to increase future plant capacity to treat the Star Zinc ore. Also, the review will take into account the intended production of vanadium pentoxide for which additional processing capability will be needed once ZEMA approval has been obtained;

 

Ø  In light of its review, Jubilee will determine by 28 February 2018 whether to enter into the Joint Venture Agreement and operating agreement (the "Operating Agreement") with the Group, both detailed below, and to agree with the Group detailed plans for completion and commissioning of the Kabwe Plant, targeted by 30 June 2018; and

 

Ø  Jubilee shall immediately be issued with preference shares ("Preference Shares") representing 15% of  the enlarged voting share capital of Kabwe Operations, the joint venture company.

Ø 

 

Upon execution of the proposed Joint Venture Agreement and the Operating Agreement, the Binding Term Sheet further provides as follows:

 

Ø  Jubilee would have the right to increase its interest in the voting share capital of Kabwe Operations up to 40% through the advance of a further £2.0 million of Jubilee Debt Finance as follows:

 

i.      by no later than 28 February 2018 (or such later date as agreed between the parties) (the "Long-stop date"), by an advance of a further £1,000,000 of Jubilee Debt Finance to Kabwe Operations (again advanced by Kabwe Operations to EPL) as a result of which it will be issued with further Preference Shares such that its aggregate holding of Preference Shares represents 30% of Kabwe Operations' enlarged voting share capital; and

ii.    by no later than 120 days of the Long-stop date, by an advance of a further £1,000,000 of Jubilee Debt Finance to Kabwe Operations (again advanced by Kabwe Operations to EPL) as a result of which it will be issued with further Preference Shares such that its aggregate holding of Preference Shares represents 40% of Kabwe Operations' enlarged voting share capital;

 

Ø  As security for the Jubilee Debt Finance, the Group would grant security over the whole of its shareholding in EPL upon receipt of the first sum of £1,000,000 by the Long-stop date until repayment of the Jubilee Debt Finance;

 

Ø  Each Preferred Share would have equal voting rights to each ordinary share of Kabwe Operations but would have preferred rights as a class of shares to receive 100% of distributed profits from Kabwe Operations until preferred shareholders have received distributions equal to a 30 per cent. premium on the Jubilee Debt Finance then advanced, whereupon the Preferred Shares will convert into ordinary shares of Kabwe Operations;

 

Ø  Kabwe Operations would be appointed as operator of the Kabwe project, with responsibility for commissioning, funding and construction of, and operations at, the Kabwe Plant.  Kabwe Operations may sub-contract responsibilities to Jubilee and/or BMR on a direct cost plus 10% basis, and would sub-contract operator responsibilities to Jubilee;

 

Ø  Cash generated by EPL through its Kabwe operations would be used in the following order (i) to pay off outstanding loans from Kabwe Operations, (ii) to pay off existing debt of c.£5 million of EPL to other members of the Group (which would be assigned between the Group and Jubilee pro rata to their holding of voting shares of Kabwe Operations at the time of loan repayments) and (iii) as consideration for acting as operator, Kabwe Operations would receive all of EPL's residual cash generated.

 

Ø  Kabwe Operations would apply funds received from EPL in the following order:

 

i.      Repayment of Jubilee Debt Finance;

ii.    Payment of the Jubilee Distribution; and

iii.   Distribution of profits between BMR and Jubilee pro rata to their holding of voting shares of Kabwe Operations at the time of such distributions.

 

 

Ø  Finally, in the event that the Joint Venture Agreement referred to above is deemed to be a fundamental change of business in accordance with Rule 15 of the AIM Rules for Companies and is not approved by shareholders of BMR:

 

i.      Kabwe Operations (guaranteed by BMR) shall immediately repay (in cash or new ordinary shares of BMR at the prevailing price) the £300,000 Initial Payment together with 100 per cent. interest thereon (reflecting the costs to be incurred by Jubilee);

ii.    Jubilee shall retain its interest in 15% of  Kabwe Operations' voting share capital; and

iii.   Jubilee shall have a pre-emptive right (by reference to voting rights) to participate in any future equity issue or joint venture relating to BMR's Kabwe project and the right to realise its interest in Kabwe Operations at the future equity issue price or joint venture implied value, as appropriate.

 

Ø  BMR and Jubilee would, respectively, initially appoint two directors and one director to the board of Kabwe Operations.

 

 

Update on African Compass International Limited ("ACI")

 

As announced on 8 June and on 23 June 2017, ACI has not met the first drawdown request under the facility agreement it entered into with BMR on 23 September 2016. BMR announced that it had therefore started looking for alternative sources of finance.  In light of the Binding Term Sheet being entered into with Jubilee, BMR has undertaken to terminate by 28 February 2018 the facility agreement and the off-take agreement with ACI, which were announced on 1 August 2016, and seek recovery of the funds amounting to $109,000 transferred to ACI for securing a bank guarantee.

 

BMR reserves all rights against ACI for its significant breach of the terms of the facility agreement.

 

General corporate update

 

i.     Kashitu Exploration, Zambia

 

Four phases of auger drilling have now been successfully completed, resulting in a total of 450 soil samples being assayed primarily for zinc, lead and gold mineralisation in the Kashitu section of EPL's Large Scale Mining Licence.  The soil samples were recovered using a 100mm diameter powered auger, drilling to a depth of approximately 1 metre. Samples were analysed by the Company's XRF analyser with random samples being check assayed independently at ZCCH-IH Misenge Laboratory in Kabwe.

 

To assess the potential of Kashitu, EPL has combined these assay results with the data base compiled from assays from the historic diamond drilling, reverse circulation and rotary air blast ("RAB") drilling undertaken by ZCCM and Billiton. This combined data base of results has enabled EPL to identify a central, mineralised 'core' in the south east of Kashitu, approximately 300 metres x 400 metres with Zn grades between 1% and 40%, Pb between 1% and 18%, and Ag up to 16.8 grams/tonne.

 

Based on these encouraging results, the exploration campaign has now been extended into an area further east designated the 'Dambo', to investigate any potential accumulated mineralisation from the central mineralised 'core', into which it drains.  Efforts are being made to complete as much of this campaign before the start of the rains.

 

EPL intends now to undertake a RAB drilling programme to investigate the extent of near surface mineralisation. 

 

ii.    Waelz Kiln Slag ("WKS"), Zambia

 

Following the ZEMA rejection of EPL's Environmental Project Brief application and a lack of progress with the Company's subsequent appeal to sell WKS for block making, discussions were held with ZEMA to explore alternative, acceptable solutions for the use of WKS. As a result, the Company has now successfully completed preliminary investigative test work to incorporate WKS into the production of high performance cement for civil engineering structures.

 

Negotiations are currently being held with a major cement manufacturer in Zambia to undertake a joint engineering study to pursue this option.           

 

iii.  Ester, Portugal

 

Scoping metallurgical test work carried out by Grinding Solutions using 80 kgs of samples collected during the first field campaign has successfully defined a conceptual flow sheet, recovering WO3, Sn, Au and Ag, using a combination of heavy media separation, gravity separation, flotation and leaching.

 

BMR intends that fresh samples will now be used to refine the flow sheet and investigate the effects on recovery of grind size, extended rate kinetics, open circuit trials and cyanide leach for the recovery of Au.

 

iv.   Imperial Smelting Furnace ("ISFS"), Zambia

 

BMR is currently prioritising the construction of the Kabwe Plant and will finalise its ISFS metallurgical test work designed to blend with the processing of the LPR following execution of the Joint Venture Agreement with Jubilee.

 

v.    Working capital

 

BMR is managed under very tight financial control with minimal overhead as the focus of management has been to deploy most of its cash assets to the Kabwe Plant construction.  The Company is currently assessing a number of proposals, including re-imbursement of the $109,000 provided to ACI referred to above and the anticipated proceeds of the litigation referred to below, to address the further financing which is required for completion of the Star Zinc acquisition and to cover general overheads.  

 

 

vi.   Other matters

 

BMR continues its litigation pursuit against former associates and advisers to the Company and believes it is close to achieving a successful outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

For further information:

 

BMR Group PLC 020 7734 7282

 

Alex Borrelli, CEO and Chairman

 

WH Ireland Limited 020 7220 1666

 

NOMAD and Joint Broker

 

Chris Fielding/ Alex Bond

 

Peterhouse Corporate Finance 020 7469 0930

 

Joint Broker

 

Lucy Williams/ Duncan Vasey/ Heena Karani

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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