Stornoway Executes Mandate Letter With Lead Arrangers for Renard Project Financing
MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2012) -Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX:SWY) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Mandate Letter with seven financial institutions (the "Mandated Lead Arrangers") in connection with a potential senior debt financing for Stornoway's 100% owned Renard Diamond Project. The Mandated Lead Arrangers are Bank of Montreal, Caterpillar Financial, Export Development Canada, Investissement Québec, Nedbank Capital Limited (London Branch), Société Générale (Canada Branch) and The Bank of Nova Scotia. The Mandate Letter establishes the terms under which the Mandated Lead Arrangers have been appointed to arrange senior loans of up to US$475 million. It does not constitute a commitment to underwrite, provide or secure financing, which remains subject to due diligence, the completion of definitive loan documentation, credit and other approvals, and the terms and conditions of the term sheet attached to the Mandate Letter, among other things.
In connection with the Mandate Letter, Bank of Montreal is appointed Administrative Agent and Modeling Bank, Caterpillar Financial is appointed Insurance Agent, Nedbank Capital Limited (London Branch) is appointed Marketing Bank, Société Générale (Canada Branch) is appointed Documentation Agent, and The Bank of Nova Scotia is appointed Technical Agent, Trustee and Account Bank.
Stornoway is pursuing a financing strategy for the Renard Diamond Project based on a combination of senior project debt, equity and financing options tied to future diamond production. The $475 million senior debt financing contemplated by the Mandate Letter is in the context of an overall financing plan that includes provisions for the totality of the project's initial pre-production capital cost, as defined in the November 2011 Feasibility Study, working capital requirements, escalation, financing costs and a pre-arranged contingent cost over-run facility.
Matt Manson, Stornoway's President and CEO commented: "Our objective in financing Renard is to minimize the capital that has to be raised to construct the project, and to minimize the equity portion of that capital. The Mandate Letter announced today is an excellent first step in this direction, and reflects well on the strength of the project and the credentials of Stornoway's operating team. We continue to be greatly assisted by the support of our principal shareholders, in particular DIAQUEM Inc., a subsidiary of Investissement Québec, with whom we entered into a $100 million credit support agreement in April 2011 and who hold a 25% pre-emptive right to subscribe to new equity. With our principal regulatory approvals expected shortly, financing arrangements proceeding and road construction ongoing, Stornoway is well positioned to follow-through on the development of Renard starting next year."
The Mandate Letter contemplates the completion of technical, environmental, social, marketing, insurance, financial and legal due diligence this year, the execution of a commitment letter in Q1 2013, and the completion of definitive documentation in Q2 2013.
Capital Cost Optimization Study
In parallel with its project financing activities, Stornoway has also initiated a study aimed at optimizing the sequencing of capital cost expenditures at Renard. In particular, this study is addressing the potential to initiate underground mining by way of a ramp only, and deferring the development of the shaft until later in the mine life. If successful, this study is expected to result in a substantial saving in the project's initial capital cost while maintaining the overall project description, mine plan and production rate at the expense of a modest operating cost increase. It is expected that this study will be complete by year-end. Its impact on the project's overall debt capacity and initial financing requirements, both of which are subject to change, will be assessed at that time.
About the Renard Diamond Project
The Renard Diamond Project is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region of North-Central Québec. In November 2011, Stornoway released the results of a Feasibility Study for Renard that highlighted the potential of the project to become a significant producer of high value rough diamonds over a long mine life. NI 43-101 compliant Probable Mineral Reserves stand at 18.0 million carats, with a further 17.5 million carats classified as Inferred Mineral Resources, and 23.5 to 48.5 million carats classified as non-resource exploration upside. All kimberlites remain open at depth. Pre-production capital cost stands at C$802 million, with a life of mine operating cost of C$54.71/tonne giving a 68% operating margin over an initial 11 year mine life. Production start-up is scheduled for 2015. Readers are referred to the technical report dated December 29, 2011 in respect of the Renard Diamond Project for further details and assumptions relating to the project.
About Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Stornoway is a leading Canadian diamond exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. Our flagship asset is the 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, on track to becoming Québec's first diamond mine. Stornoway also maintains an active diamond exploration program with both advanced and grassroots programs in the most prospective regions of Canada. Stornoway is a growth oriented company with a world class asset, in one of the world's best mining jurisdictions, in one of the world's great mining businesses.
On behalf of the Board
STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORPORATION
Matt Manson, President and Chief Executive Officer