Salt Lake Potash concludes debt financing as it awaits first production at Lake Way
(SO4 ) has concluded the debt financing process for its Lake Way project in Western Australia after the company received debt funds from the final US$33 million tranche of its $138 million Senior Debt Facility and funds from its A$28 million placing.
Investors will recall SO4 executed the $138m Syndicated Facility Agreement with Taurus Mining Finance Fund No.2 L.P and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in August 2020 to support the development of the Company’s Lake Way SOP Project in Western Australia.
Specifically, the group said the final US$3 million tranche of the US$138 million Senior Debt facility has been drawn, with US$11 million escrowed for early repayment in June 2022.
Meanwhile, it has also executed A$18m Guarantee Facility with Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEQI), allowing the release of A$18m of equity back into the project with the funds to be used for general operating expenses during the ramp up of the project.
Commenting on today’s news, CEO of the Company, Tony Swiericzuk said: “We are pleased to have concluded the debt financing process and would like to thank all our financial stakeholders for their support in funding the Lake Way project. We now look forward to delivering the project and ramping up SOP production over the next 9-12 months."
The funds from its recent placement will be used for general operating expenses during the ramp up of the Lake Way Project where the first SOP product is expected this June quarter.
To date, Lake Way is on schedule for first SOP production this June and first SOP sales very shortly thereafter. Commissioning has ‘substantially progressed’ at the site with 26 of the 34 plant process units initiated and 17 of those Process Units finalised to practical completion.
In addition, overall plant commissioning is more than 50% complete. The group is targeting full scale production of 245ktpa for the 2020 June quarter which it said remains on target.
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Today’s news marks a milestone moment for the company who will use the funds of the A$18m Guarantee Facility for general operating expenses during the ramp up of Lake Way.
In April 2021, the company released a quarterly report stating that it has made “significant progress” at the Lake Way Project, setting it up for the first SOP sales in the June quarter.
The Lake Way Project, which remains SO4’s primary focus, forms part of a long-term plan to develop an integrated SOP operation producing from several Western Australian salt lakes.
Shares in the company have shed 7% in value since the beginning of 2021. However, following a strong quarterly report released back in January, SO4’s focus now remains on looking forward to the first SOP product at the Lake Way project during the June quarter.
Dual-listed Salt Lake Potash operates as a mineral exploration company in Australia and the company plans to build the most sustainable, most rewarding fertiliser project in the world.
The Lake Way Project remains on schedule for first SOP production in March 2021 and first SOP sales in April 2021. The project capital budget remains unchanged at A$264m and the overall project is now 81% complete on a value earned basis as at 31 December 2020.
CEO of SO4, Tony Swiericzuk described achieving financial close on the debt facility as “a substantial milestone in the development of the company and the Lake Way Project.”
Western Australian farming publication, Farm Weekly, said potassium-rich brine processors, SO4 and the other WA companies will be among the world's lowest cost SoP producers.
It outlined that the company’s cash production cost per tonne is expected to be US$205 at an annual production rate from the end of next year of 245,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).
There is no current SOP local production in Australia, and so SOP projects like Lake Way will enable the country to transition from a net importer of potassium fertilisers to an exporter.
Yesterday, the mineral explorer successfully completed its share purchase plan (“SPP”) after the group increased the offer size to A$8.0m following strong demand from retail investors.
Swiericzuk stated that, “The funds raised through the placement and SPP have enabled the Company to achieve financial close on the US$138m Taurus/CEFC debt facility and draw the initial tranche of US$105m and to finalise development of the Lake Way Project."
In a previous Q&A video with Vox Markets, Salt Lake Potash’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Swiericzuk, discusses the positive progress at their developing Lake Way Project.
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