ADITYA BIRLA SELLS AUSTRALIAN MINE
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The mineral arm of Aditya Birla’s business, Aditya Birla Minerals Ltd (ABML) has recently – as of September 21, 2015 – closed Birla Mt Gordon (BMG) copper mine in Queensland, Australia, to Lighthouse Minerals Holdings Pty Ltd for around USD 10.75 million.
BMG is situated in northwest Queensland and was set up to produce copper concentrate of 1.4 million tonnes per annum. However, owing to the commodity slowdown in the last couple of years, it has been put on hold under Care and Maintenance since April 2013. Now, ABML has bitten the bullet and is keen to cut its losses by selling the mine.
Here are some details of the transaction:
- The deal includes a cash payment of 5 million Australian dollars to ABML on the completion of the transaction.
- A further cash payment of 10 million Australian dollars is payable to ABML if the three-months delivery quoted price for copper on the London Metals Exchange averages at least 4.20 AUD per pound over any continuous 6-month period.
- ABML will be reimbursed by the buyer for the care and maintenance expenses incurred by BMG in relation to Mt Gordon for the period commencing on the execution date of the agreement and ending on the completion date of the transaction. The maximum amount for any given month for this payment is 500,000 AUD.
- Replacing all financial assurance bonds worth 41.7 million AUD in relation to Mt Gordon. This encumbered cash balance of ABML will become unencumbered, allowing the organisation to use the cash as it sees fit.
- This increase in the firm’s unencumbered cash balance will provide the Board with flexibility while it assesses options for capital management and ongoing strategic review of the balance of the ABML business.
Ever since the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States has tightened its monetary policy, the commodity cycle has entered a bear phase, and the value of most commodities – including copper – has plummeted, making mining a difficult business to be in. In this light, it is perhaps good foresight on the part of ABML to lighten its load, after trying to keep the mine in ‘care and maintenance’ mode for two years.