West African gold developer and explorer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has secured up to US$140 million (A$190 million) in debt funding for the development of the Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire.
The five-year loan will be underwritten by Taurus Mining Finance Fund, which is a dedicated resources fund manager with a long history of investing in the West African gold sector.
The deal comes within six weeks of Tietto releasing a strong definitive feasibility study for Abujar, which subsequently attracted several non-binding debt offers of up to $243 million from overseas institutions.
The study demonstrated robust financial results for the project and estimated a first-year gold production of 260,000 ounces, with 1.2 million ounces anticipated in the first six years of mining (averaging about 200,000oz per year of gold output).
Tietto managing director Dr Caigen Wang said securing the financing with Taurus will provide project certainty for shareholders.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the Taurus team [as they] can deliver the funds needed on our timeline,” he said.
“Our experienced project build team has been advancing early works and is now confident the debt funding will be in place as we proceed onto major works needed to develop Abujar into West Africa’s next gold mine.”
While the full terms of the financing have not been disclosed, Dr Wang confirmed the repayments will commence in June 2023 and there will be no mandatory hedging.
Completion of final agreements remains conditional upon due diligence, documentation and other conditions precedent for project debt financings.
Latest gold assays
Tietto is continuing to advance its exploration at Abujar, with latest gold assays building confidence in the 3.35-million-ounce project.
Infill drilling at the AG Core target returned high-grade intercepts of 8 metres at 12.43 grams per tonne gold from 187m including 2m at 48.37g/t gold; 12m at 6.1g/t gold from 208m including 10m at 7.15g/t gold; and 18m at 4.36g/t gold from 214m including 3m at 18.25g/t gold.
The results were generated from a fifth batch of assays comprising 12 holes for 2,526.5m, within a larger 30,000m infill drilling campaign.