Contango ORE Enters Into Project Finance Mandate With ING and Macquarie to Fund the Construction of Its Share of the Manh Choh Gold Project Alongside JV Partner Kinross Gold
Contango ORE, Inc. (“CORE,” “Contango” or the “Company”) (NYSE American: CTGO) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with ING CAPITAL LLC (“ING”) and Macquarie to arrange a US$70 million senior secured loan facility to fund its portion of the pre-production construction and working capital/operating expenditures for the Peak Gold Joint Venture (“PGJV”), owner of the Manh Choh gold project in Alaska. The project has received the federal permits needed for road construction and early work construction has already commenced. First gold production is expected in the second half of 2024.
- Contango is the 30% owner and JV partner with a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation (70% owner and manager) of PGJV which owns the Manh Choh gold project on land leased from the Tetlin Tribe within its 675,000 acres fee simple land package. Independently, the Company also owns the Lucky Shot gold project which it is actively exploring and developing. In addition, Contango owns the mineral rights to 137,000 acres of Alaskan state mining claims in the prolific Tintina Gold Belt north of the PGJV lands.
- Manh Choh is a high grade, 8g/t gold equivalent open pit gold project. Run-of-mine ore will be transported from the mine site to Kinross’s already operating Fort Knox processing facility near Fairbanks, Alaska.
- Contango has received significant interest from banks and alternative lenders to provide financing for its share of the Manh Choh project.
- Three potential lenders were chosen for the final round, and each performed independent due diligence and visited the mine site with their technical consultants prior to providing detailed term sheets.
- ING and Macquarie were selected and have now signed an exclusive mandate with Contango to provide US$70mm senior secured loan facility to fund the Company’s portion of pre-production capital requirements.
- The Facility is subject to final documentation, customary final diligence and credit approvals by the Lenders. The transaction is expected to close in April 2023.
Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We received very competitive terms for the senior loan facility and an attractive cost of capital for the company. Along with our upcoming equity raise, we will fully fund our obligation to the joint venture through production and execute on our other corporate objectives. Construction is under way and the project remains on track with first gold production expected in 2024. Contracts have been entered into for contract mining with Kiewit, a global mining and construction contractor and Black Gold Transport, a well-known local Alaska trucking company based in North Pole, Alaska. Capital costs are now 90% committed and the project remains on schedule and on budget. After we complete our funding requirements for PGJV, we will focus on continuing to build shareholder value. There is tremendous exploration upside on the vast Tetlin Lease and adjacent lands that we control. We also look forward to updating our shareholders and investors on exploration drill results at Lucky Shot, and publishing an initial SK1300 Technical Report Resource Estimate before the end of the month. In addition, we continue to evaluate other attractive strategic opportunities. This year will be a transformational year for Contango. I am excited about our plan to transform Contango into a gold producer and to the opportunities that being a producer will allow us to achieve.”