Yesterday this humble corner of cyberspace linked through to the interview Peru‘s highly regarding bizmedia house Semana Economica had with Diego Benavides, CEO of Minera IRL. Here’s a translation of the four questions and answers contained within, they’re well worth reading carefully:
Semana Economica: In 2015 and 2016 there was an internal power struggle at Minera IRL. Are all the problems now resolved?Diego Benavides: “All the legal actions brought against me by the ex-directors of IRL have been dismissed. We’ve managed to re-list our shares in Lima (BVL) and Toronto (CSE). The next step is to re-list in London (AIM), which should be in 3q17. London is very important (to us) as 55% of our shareholders are there, above all the institutions.”SE: When will production start at your Ollachea project?DB: “The objective is to begin construction as soon as possible, we could begin within three or four months and between June and July 2018 we would be in production. The estimated capex was around U$180m, but our debt capacity has a limit and we do not want to dilute our shareholders (by emitting a lot more shares. Due to this we are optimizing the project and reducing capex to U$30m.”SE: How will the project change?DB: “We’re looking to reduce the daily throughput from 3000 tonnes to 1500 tonnes. This will allow a reduction in construction time from two years to one year. In the first two years we would produce around 60,000 or 70,000 ounces of gold (instead of the current estimate 100,000 ounces). In year three, with positive free cash flow, we will expand volume to 2000 or 2500 tonnes and gold production pays for capex and opex, which will allow shareholders to have upside.”SE: In 2015 Cofide awarded a U$70m bridge loan to IRL in order to finance Ollachea. How has that advanced?DB: “There were two conditions to secure the final loan. First a drill program which is now complete and has increased the inferred resources at the project by around half a million ounces. Second, the change of the construction contract from an EPCM to an EPC “turnkey” deal, which hands off construction risk to the contractor.We will talk with Cofide in order to determine whether a syndicated loan is the most appropriate (as initially thought) as it will weigh us down with debt. We have to lighten this. The current plan is to restructure with leasing and reduce principal financial debt. We believe the final debt deal can be ready by June.”
UPDATE: And to make clear an important point, here’s a mail just received from reader ‘R’:
” Due to this we are optimizing the project and reducing capex to U$30m.”
The answer is no, it’s “to”. IRL is looking to reduce initial capex to U$30m.