Lundin Gold becomes debt free with US$330M repayment to Newmont

Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) (OTCQX: LUGDF) has negotiated a deal with Newmont to buy out the stream credit facility and offtake agreement […]
Drilling to help expand Lundin Gold’s Fructa del Norte mine. Credit: Lundin Gold

Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) (OTCQX: LUGDF) has negotiated a deal with Newmont to buy out the stream credit facility and offtake agreement for its 100% owned Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador, relieving the company of its debt obligations to the world's biggest gold miner.

Newmont will receive US$330 million, payable in cash, as part of the buyout package. This will be paid in two tranches: a first payment of US$180 million due on closing (June 28, 2024), and a final payment of US$150 million before the end of Q3 2024.

The Newmont stream facility was repayable in variable monthly instalments equivalent to the value of 7.75% of gold production from Fruta del Norte less US$408/oz. and 100% of the silver production less US$4.08/oz., up to a maximum of 350,000 oz. of gold and 6 million oz. of silver.

As set out in the initial agreement, Lundin had the option to buy back 50% of the balance on June 30, 2024, for US$150 million; and/or buy back the other 50% of the stream facility on June 30, 2026, for US$225 million.

Meanwhile, the original offtake provided Newmont the option to purchase 50% of Fruta del Norte's gold production, up to a maximum of 2.5 million oz., at a price based on a defined quotational period.

With this negotiated agreement, Lundin CEO and shareholder Ron Hochstein said the company "will be debt free and have increased exposure to rising gold prices, resulting in increased amounts of free cash flow to support growth."

The stream facility and offtake agreements were established in 2017 as part of a project financing package from Newmont of up to US$450 million to fund the development of Fruta del Norte. With the funding in hand, Lundin kicked off mine construction that year, and two years later, it poured first gold.

The underground mine in southeast Ecuador is hailed as one of the highest-grade, lowest-costing gold mines in the world. Over an approximate 13-year life, Fruta del Norte's gold production will be 340,000 oz. a year on average. Its capex was an estimated US$692 million.

After four-plus years of mining, gold reserves are currently estimated at 4.5 oz. grading 7.89 g/t, but recent expansion drilling could grow that further, as mining analysts previously suggested.


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