Equinox Minerals Limited

Equinox Minerals Limited

August 03, 2005 12:26 ET

Equinox Mandates Lenders For US$305 Million Of The Lumwana Project Financing

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - August 03, 2005) -


Equinox Minerals Limited (TSX:EQN)(ASX:EQN) is pleased to announce that it has mandated a group of lenders ("the Lenders") to provide a total of US$305 million in senior and subordinated project finance facilities for the development and construction of the Lumwana Copper Project ("Lumwana") located in the North Western Province of Zambia. Indicative term sheets for both the senior and subordinated facilities have been agreed and the documentation and due diligence process will begin immediately.

The senior project facility will be provided by a syndicate of European, African and Australian based Commercial Lenders, Developmental Finance Institutions ("DFIs") and Export Credit Agencies ("ECAs") and will be divided into three tranches as follows:

Commercial Tranche: A tranche of commercial bank loans jointly arranged and underwritten by Standard Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank and WestLB AG, London branch.

ECA-backed Tranche: A tranche arranged by The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and underwritten by The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and Standard Chartered Bank, which will be supported by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa.

DFI and ECA Tranche: A tranche of loans provided by a group of DFIs and ECAs. Finance for this tranche will be provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Australian Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The abovementioned Lenders are mandated to provide US$255 million of the US$285 million senior project finance facility for the Lumwana Project. Detailed discussions are ongoing with additional lenders, who are expected to be mandated shortly to provide the balance of the proposed senior facility.

In addition to the Lumwana senior project financing, Equinox has mandated EIB, who co-funded the Lumwana Bankable Feasibility Study, in relation to a US$50 million subordinated loan facility (quasi-equity) to provide further project financing. Equinox will also be providing additional equity for the development and construction of the Lumwana Project.

Equinox has also called for, and received, tenders for the provision of mobile fleet and associated equipment required for the Project. Equinox will be seeking to mandate a financial institution to provide an asset financing facility in respect of the mobile fleet and equipment and Equinox is in advanced discussions with a number of financial institutions for the provision of additional project financing.

The mandating of the lending group represents a key milestone in Lumwana development. The participating commercial banks, DFIs and ECAs have extensive experience in Africa and in the mining industry. The support provided to Equinox reflects the strong interest in the mining finance community to participate in the development of the Lumwana Project.

Equinox is a Canadian-Australian listed resource company engaged principally in the exploration and development of mineral properties in Zambia, and exploration in Australia and Peru. Equinox has completed a Bankable Feasibility Study at its 100% owned Lumwana Project in Zambia which is scheduled to produce an average of 125,000 tpa (275 million lbs/year) of copper over an 18 year mine life, with over 140,000 tpa (310 million lbs/year) of copper being produced in the initial 5 year period. With Measured and Indicated Resource of 269 million tonnes of ore grading at 0.8% Cu, Equinox plans to develop Lumwana to become a mid-tier copper mining company.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Equinox:

Craig R. Williams - President & Chief Executive Officer

For information on Equinox and technical details on the Lumwana Project please refer to the company website at www.equinoxminerals.com

Forward Looking Statements

This press release may contain "forward-looking statements", which are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Investors are cautioned that such statements are not guarantees of future performance and results. Risks and uncertainties about the Company's business are more fully discussed in the Company's disclosure documents filed from time to time with the Toronto and Australian securities authorities. The independent feasibility study, prepared by Aker Kvaerner, Golder Associates and Investor Resources Ltd has been disclosed in the Technical Report dated April 2004, and is compliant with the JORC Code and National Instrument 43-101. Unless otherwise indicated, technical information contained in this release is based on information compiled by a "Qualified Person" who is either a corporate member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists or the CIM.

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