ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Steppe Gold Ltd (TSX: STGO) (OTCQX:STPGF) (FSE:2J9) (“Steppe Gold” or the “Company”) is extremely pleased to announce that it has reached agreement for up to $65m (all figures in US$ unless otherwise stated) in debt capital (the “Loans”) to fast track its phase two construction of the ATO Gold Mine.
Of the total $65m in Loans, MNT 170 billion or approximately US$59.7m (the “2021 Gold-2 Loan”), has been funded through the Gold-2 National Program, facilitated through the Central Bank of Mongolia. The 2021 Gold-2 Loan proceeds were advanced during the third quarter to Steppe Gold by the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia (“TDBM”).
The 2021 Gold-2 Loan is a special purpose covenant-light loan, with a three-year term at 9% interest and full prepayment rights without penalty. All interest amounts are paid monthly. Draw down of the loan proceeds will commence on completion of registration of security, expected later this month.
Further the Company has reached agreement for an additional US$5m for allocation to working capital to be funded directly from TDBM in the form of a prepaid gold sales loan (the “TDBM Gold Loan”). The TDBM Gold Loan will be repaid over a period of 12 months based on gold sales, with repayments in cash equivalent at MongolBank gold prices.
With its Phase 2 Expansion headline numbers announced on October 27 and construction already commenced on the expanded crushing circuit the Company will now allocate the proceeds of the Gold-2 Loan to fast track the construction of the Phase 2 Expansion Project.
Bataa Tumur-Ochir, the President and CEO of Steppe Gold, commented “Following on the recent completion of the Feasibility Study for the Phase 2 expansion of the ATO Gold Mine, we are now very proud to announce this landmark US$65M financing package. With over 170 bn in funding from the Central Bank of Mongolia, Steppe Gold has cemented its position as Mongolia’s premier precious metals group.
The Company is highly encouraged by the trust placed in us by leading Mongolian financial institutions. This is a tremendous vote of support for Steppe Gold, for the Mongolian mining industry and will add value to Mongolia’s export revenue and foreign reserves position.
The Phase 2 Expansion will generate an additional 300 jobs and further solidify our role as the one of the largest investors and employers in the region. The Phase 2 expansion has all major permits to fast-track the development and construction of the expanded crushing circuit is nearing completion.
While Steppe Gold has faced significant headwinds from COVID lockdowns, border closing and supply chain issues, the Company continued full scale mining and stacking operations in 2021. As of November 1, 2021, Steppe Gold has a total of over 2.2m tonnes of ore stacked on the leach and ROM pads, with approximately 45,000 ounces of gold recoverable in the short term.
Steppe Gold is proud that 100% of its suppliers are Mongolian and 99% of employees are Mongolian nationals. Within the framework of its social responsibility agenda, the Company commenced a scholarship program, providing financial support to over 1,000 students since 2017.
Steppe Gold believes 2022 will be the year of rapid growth and expansion with full production and further financing for the Phase 2 expansion project. Steppe Gold wants to thank all of its stakeholders for their support and for placing their confidence in us as Steppe Gold focuses on building and delivering sustainable and tangible value. ”
Enkhtaivan Ganbold, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Mongolia commented, “the Central Bank of Mongolia is supporting leading responsible mining companies to accelerate gold production in Mongolia. Gold production and export plays a vital role in the Mongolia economy, as it supports our foreign reserves and export capacity. We are pleased to expand our support for Steppe Gold’s Phase 2 Expansion through the Gold-2 National Program of the Government of Mongolia.”
Mr. Banzragch Оrig, First Deputy CEO of TDBM commented, “we are very pleased to support leading Mongolian gold producers in the Gold-2 National Program. Steppe Gold continues to be a great success story in the Mongolian mining industry, showing leadership in safety, community support and environmental stewardship. We are glad to support Steppe Gold’s exciting Phase 2 expansion plans.”
About the Gold-2 National Program
The Gold-2 National Program aims at ensuring the sustainable growth of the economy, increase foreign exchange reserves, and support the gold industry to increase central bank’s gold purchase, maintain legal stability, and promote environmentally responsible mining. Several ministries including the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Central Bank of Mongolia, commercial banks and the private sector are cooperating as part of the program.
Steppe Gold Limited:
Steppe Gold is Mongolia’s premier precious metals company.
For Further information, please contact:
Bataa Tumur-Ochir, CEO and President
Shangri-La office, Suite 1201, Olympic street
19A, Sukhbaatar District 1,
Ulaanbaatar 14241, Mongolia
Tel: +976 7732 1914
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
The above contains forward-looking statements that are subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in our forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences include: changes in world commodity markets, equity markets, costs and supply of materials relevant to the mining industry, change in government and changes to regulations affecting the mining industry. Forward-looking statements in this release include, among other things, statements regarding the trading of the Common Shares and business, economic, and political conditions in Mongolia. Although we believe the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, results may vary, and we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.
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