Walkabout Resources Limited (WKT), Perth, Western Australia, has secured a US$20 million (around A$26.2 million) debt funding facility with Tanzania’s CRDB bank, Themarketherald.com.au reports.
The facility is a major milestone for the company as it progresses towards construction of its wholly owned Lindi Jumbo Graphite Mine in Tanzania.
Impressively, the mine’s high-grade resource outcropping at surface boasts the highest reserve grade of any undeveloped graphite project in Africa at 5.5 metric tonnes at 17.9 per cent total graphitic carbon.
With the project’s capital expenditure estimated at $US32 million (roughly A$42 million), WKT’s newly secured debt facility is slated to meet 62.5 per cent of Lindi Jumbo’s cost.
According to Walkabout, repayment terms on the facility include an 8 per cent per annum interest rate with repayments to be made in quarterly instalments over 42 months following a 12-month grace period.
Walkabout Managing Director Allan Mulligan said the company is delighted to secure CRDB — the largest wholly-owned private bank in Tanzania — as a financing partner.
“We were very keen to meet not just the requirements of local content but the spirit as well and the CRDB facility accomplishes this,” Allan commented.
“We have persisted with negotiating this funding facility for more than a year. The relationship benefits Tanzania in growing its services sector and benefits our company, as the cost of funding reduces significantly in terms of sovereign risk premiums,” he continued.
“The provision of this significant debt package for Lindi unlocks the final milestone in project development and construction efforts at the mine site can commence as soon as formal documents have been executed.”
In light of this partnership, Walkabout has suspended the negotiation of a debt facility with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for US$25.2 million (around A$34.1 million), previously announced in November last year.
Walkabout has assessed the potential for delays due to COVID-19 and has introduced travel and safety systems to mitigate risk accordingly.