Australian Pacific Coal (ASX:AQC) and its joint venture partner Tetra Resources have successfully secured a significant funding package to revive the Dartbrook Mine. The joint venture has received an offer for a 3-year USD60 million (approximately AUD90 million) debt facility from Vitol Asia Pte Ltd, a renowned global energy and commodities company. This development marks a major milestone in the journey to bring the Dartbrook Mine back into full operational status.
Subject to the completion of legal documentation, Know Your Client (KYC) procedures, due diligence, and the absence of any material adverse events, this funding facility will provide the necessary capital to cover all remaining restart capital expenditures, including equipment acquisitions and remediation work. Additionally, it will facilitate the acquisition of essential mining systems during the ramp-up phase, ensuring the mine can reach full production capacity.
Dartbrook coal marketing rights will also be assigned to Vitol under a Coal Supply and Marketing Agreement between the parties, further cementing their collaboration.
Australian Pacific Coal’s Interim CEO, Ms. Ayten Saridas, expressed her satisfaction with the development, saying, “After reviewing multiple funding proposals and working under increasingly difficult global economic conditions, I am very pleased that we have received a credit committee approved offer from Vitol, a leading global energy and commodities company, based on mutually agreed terms.”
She further added, “The Dartbrook Mine is a Tier 1 asset, and this transaction is testament to the quality of the resource. Vitol was selected as our preferred funding partner for their ability to provide a comprehensive funding solution that covered all of our restart capital expenditure needs.”
This funding agreement is a significant milestone for Australian Pacific Coal and the Dartbrook project, providing a clear path forward for the revival of mining operations. A revised schedule aligning with the receipt of funding anticipates intensive capital works leading up to the first coal production, targeted for Q1 of 2024. Simultaneously, efforts will be made to secure a working capital facility to support commercial operations in the future.
Dartbrook Funding Package Key Details:
3-year facility with repayments commencing after an initial grace periodSenior security over the JV assets and shares with AQC parent company guaranteeSubordination of Shareholder LoansSubject to execution of legal documentation and satisfaction of conditions precedent, including completion of KYC and due diligence.Coal Sales and Marketing Agreement:
In addition to the funding package, the Dartbrook JV will enter into a Coal Sales and Marketing Agreement with Vitol. This agreement covers all Dartbrook coal production and assigns coal marketing rights to Vitol for the entire life of the mine, including any extensions.
Ms. Saridas commented on the coal market, saying, “Thermal coal prices remain robust, and we have received numerous inbound inquiries for Dartbrook’s NEWC spec product. We are confident in Vitol’s marketing capabilities and look forward to working with them as we bring this world-class asset back to full operational status.”
With critical funding in place, Australian Pacific Coal and Tetra Resources are now fully focused on restarting production at Dartbrook in the new year, bringing new opportunities and economic activity to the region.
Additionally, the company has released its AGM presentation today.
In 2023, AQC focused on safety, streamlined JV agreements, reduced Dartbrook Project risks, secured funding for a restart, and achieved increased ownership in Dartbrook. They made progress on dewatering the mine tunnel and planned to produce coal in early 2024. The thermal coal market remained strong, supporting their optimism about Dartbrook’s future as a valuable asset.