Due to continuing low nickel prices, Asian Mineral Resources (AMR), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Ban Phuc Nickel Mines (BPNM), has further focused its efforts on cost reductions and de-leveraging of the Ban Phuc operations in Vietnam in order to ensure sustainable operations.
As a part of this initiative, and due to strong operating results over the previous quarters, during the September quarter, BPNM paid down US$14.7 million in debt, including fully repaying the outstanding term loan facility.
Subsequently, an unexpected delay in BPNM’s nickel concentrate shipping schedule to Tianjin port, coupled with a further decline in the nickel price, has resulted in a temporary tightness in working capital in the business.
Pala Investments, AMR’s majority shareholder, has agreed to make available a short-term bridging facility to AMR in amount of US$2.1 million, which has been approved by the independent directors of the company. The facility is at market terms and is expected to be repaid within two months of drawdown.
AMR is working with its offtake partner to normalize the shipping schedule going forward and is expected to return to its regular shipping schedule over the next month.
AMR’s CEO Evan Spencer says, “The support from Pala has been invaluable through this period and the provision on this facility continues to highlight Pala’s commitment to AMR and its Ban Phuc operations.”
AMR is one of the few new sources of nickel sulphide supply globally. AMR commenced commercial production from its Ban Phuc nickel project in Vietnam in mid-2013. The Ban Phuc mine currently produces more than 6900 tonnes of nickel and 3500 tonnes of copper per annum contained in concentrate, plus a cobalt by-product.