MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 6, 2012) - Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX:SWY) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Mandate Letter with seven financial institutions (the "Mandated Lead Arrangers") in connection with a potential senior debt financing for Stornoway's 100% owned Renard Diamond Project. The Mandated Lead Arrangers are Bank of Montreal, Caterpillar Financial, Export Development Canada, Investissement Québec, Nedbank Capital Limited (London Branch), Société Générale (Canada Branch) and The Bank of Nova Scotia. The Mandate Letter establishes the terms under which the Mandated Lead Arrangers have been appointed to arrange senior loans of up to US$475 million. It does not constitute a commitment to underwrite, provide or secure financing, which remains subject to due diligence, the completion of definitive loan documentation, credit and other approvals, and the terms and conditions of the term sheet attached to the Mandate Letter, among other things.
In connection with the Mandate Letter, Bank of Montreal is appointed Administrative Agent and Modeling Bank, Caterpillar Financial is appointed Insurance Agent, Nedbank Capital Limited (London Branch) is appointed Marketing Bank, Société Générale (Canada Branch) is appointed Documentation Agent, and The Bank of Nova Scotia is appointed Technical Agent, Trustee and Account Bank.
Stornoway is pursuing a financing strategy for the Renard Diamond Project based on a combination of senior project debt, equity and financing options tied to future diamond production. The $475 million senior debt financing contemplated by the Mandate Letter is in the context of an overall financing plan that includes provisions for the totality of the project's initial pre-production capital cost, as defined in the November 2011 Feasibility Study, working capital requirements, escalation, financing costs and a pre-arranged contingent cost over-run facility.
Matt Manson, Stornoway's President and CEO commented: "Our objective in financing Renard is to minimize the capital that has to be raised to construct the project, and to minimize the equity portion of that capital. The Mandate Letter announced today is an excellent first step in this direction, and reflects well on the strength of the project and the credentials of Stornoway's operating team. We continue to be greatly assisted by the support of our principal shareholders, in particular DIAQUEM Inc., a subsidiary of Investissement Québec, with whom we entered into a $100 million credit support agreement in April 2011 and who hold a 25% pre-emptive right to subscribe to new equity. With our principal regulatory approvals expected shortly, financing arrangements proceeding and road construction ongoing, Stornoway is well positioned to follow-through on the development of Renard starting next year."
The Mandate Letter contemplates the completion of technical, environmental, social, marketing, insurance, financial and legal due diligence this year, the execution of a commitment letter in Q1 2013, and the completion of definitive documentation in Q2 2013.
Capital Cost Optimization Study
In parallel with its project financing activities, Stornoway has also initiated a study aimed at optimizing the sequencing of capital cost expenditures at Renard. In particular, this study is addressing the potential to initiate underground mining by way of a ramp only, and deferring the development of the shaft until later in the mine life. If successful, this study is expected to result in a substantial saving in the project's initial capital cost while maintaining the overall project description, mine plan and production rate at the expense of a modest operating cost increase. It is expected that this study will be complete by year-end. Its impact on the project's overall debt capacity and initial financing requirements, both of which are subject to change, will be assessed at that time.
About the Renard Diamond Project
The Renard Diamond Project is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region of North-Central Québec. In November 2011, Stornoway released the results of a Feasibility Study for Renard that highlighted the potential of the project to become a significant producer of high value rough diamonds over a long mine life. NI 43-101 compliant Probable Mineral Reserves stand at 18.0 million carats, with a further 17.5 million carats classified as Inferred Mineral Resources, and 23.5 to 48.5 million carats classified as non-resource exploration upside. All kimberlites remain open at depth. Pre-production capital cost stands at C$802 million, with a life of mine operating cost of C$54.71/tonne giving a 68% operating margin over an initial 11 year mine life. Production start-up is scheduled for 2015. Readers are referred to the technical report dated December 29, 2011 in respect of the Renard Diamond Project for further details and assumptions relating to the project.
About Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Stornoway is a leading Canadian diamond exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. Our flagship asset is the 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, on track to becoming Québec's first diamond mine. Stornoway also maintains an active diamond exploration program with both advanced and grassroots programs in the most prospective regions of Canada. Stornoway is a growth oriented company with a world class asset, in one of the world's best mining jurisdictions, in one of the world's great mining businesses.
On behalf of the Board
STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORPORATION
Matt Manson, President and Chief Executive Officer
This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements, referred to herein as "forward-looking statements", are made as of the date of this press release and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of mineral resources and exploration targets; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) net present value and internal rates of return of the mining operation; (iv) assumptions relating to capital costs, operating costs and other cost metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (v) assumptions relating to gross revenues, operating cash flow and other revenue metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (vi) assumptions relating to recovered grade, average ore recovery and other mining parameters set out in the Feasibility Study; (vii) mine expansion potential and expected mine life; (viii) expected time frames for completion of permitting and regulatory approvals and making a production decision; (ix) future exploration plans; (x) future market prices for rough diamonds; and (xi) sources of and anticipated financing requirements. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "assumes", "intends", "strategy", "goals", "objectives" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are made based upon certain assumptions by Stornoway or its consultants and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performances or achievements of Stornoway to be materially different from future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies and the environment in which Stornoway will operate in the future, including the price of diamonds, anticipated costs and ability to achieve goals. Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performances or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) estimated approval date of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment; (ii) required capital investment and estimated workforce requirements; (iii) estimates of net present value and internal rates of return; (iv) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms within commonly experienced time frames; (v) the assumption that a production decision will be made, and that decision will be positive; (vi) anticipated timelines for the commencement of mine production; (vii) anticipated timelines related to the Route 167 extension and the impact on the development schedule at Renard; (viii) anticipated timelines for community consultations and the impact of those consultations on the regulatory approval process; (ix) market prices for rough diamonds and the potential impact on the Renard Project's value; and (x) future exploration plans and objectives.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important risk factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates, assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, including the assumption in many forward-looking statements that other forward-looking statements will be correct, but specifically include, without limitation, (i) risks relating to variations in the grade, kimberlite lithologies and country rock content within the material identified as mineral resources from that predicted; (ii) variations in rates of recovery and breakage; (iii) the greater uncertainty of exploration targets; (iv) developments in world diamond markets; (v) slower increases in diamond valuations than assumed; (vi) risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar; (vii) increases in the costs of proposed capital and operating expenditures; (viii) increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing if any; (ix) tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; (x) results of exploration in areas of potential expansion of resources; (xi) changes in development or mining plans due to changes in other factors or exploration results of Stornoway; (xii) changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; (xiii) risks relating to receipt of regulatory approvals or the implementation of the existing Impact and Benefits Agreement with aboriginal communities; (xiv) the effects of competition in the markets in which Stornoway operates; (xv) operational and infrastructure risks; and (xvi) the additional risks described in Stornoway's most recently filed Annual Information Form, annual and interim MD&A, and Stornoway's anticipation of and success in managing the foregoing risks. Stornoway cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.
When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Stornoway, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Stornoway does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by Stornoway or on our behalf, except as required by law.