Mining in the open pit at Finders Resources’ Wetar Copper Project on the island of Wetar.
Mining in the open pit at Finders Resources’ Wetar Copper Project on the island of Wetar.

FINDERS Resources has finalized three key components of funding for the expansion of its Wetar Copper Project from the current annual capacity of 3000 tonnes of copper cathode to 28,000 tonnes. The components are project level equity, senior loan facilities and an equity raising.

Leading international trading house Daewoo International Corporation will provide US$45 million in project level equity. Senior lenders BNP Paribas, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and Societe Generale have also signed a credit approved commitment letter for US$165 million of senior loan facilities.

In late May the company also announced an equity raising of up to Aus$15.3 million by way of a placement to institutional and sophisticated investors to raise $10 million, and a non-renounceable entitlement offer to raise a further $5.3 million. Finders said the funds from the equity raising would be used to complete the equity financing required for the expansion of Wetar as well as for further exploration and working capital.

Finders’ managing director Barry Cahill says, “Daewoo and the four senior banks are very sophisticated global resource project financiers who have taken the time to conduct extensive project due diligence. The support of these experienced project financiers is an extremely pleasing endorsement of the Wetar Copper Project. We look forward to working with such highly credentialed partners to develop Wetar into the tier one project that the fundamentals support.”

Finders, which started copper production from Wetar on March 31, was expected to start construction of the project expansion works by the end of June with production from the expanded plant expected to come online in the second half of 2015.

In mid-May Finders advised that it had shipped its first cathode from the Wetar copper cathode solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plant. A total of 102.5 tonnes left Wetar for the port at Surabaya via Kupang. The 3000 tonne SX-EW plant is operating at its nameplate daily capacity of 8 tonnes.

The shipment was expected to arrive in Surabaya by the end of May and was expected to be sold shortly thereafter. As a refined product, the export of cathode is not affected by the new regulations on Indonesian ore exports.

The fully permitted Wetar project has a high-grade, open pit 8.9 million tonne @ 2.4% copper reserve with a 1:1 strip ratio. The company intends to add 25,000 tonnes to annual copper cathode capacity via the refurbishment and re-assembly of the former Whim Creek plant from Western Australia and the building of associated leach pads and infrastructure.