Huge Plymouth mine set to open after final cash hurdle is cleared
THE firm behind the £130 million Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine project has now raised all the cash it needs to reopen the facility.
Wolf Minerals Limited yesterday told the Australian stock market it now had the final £13 million it needed.
It comes just days after it received a £50.8 million investment which it will partly use to compulsorily buy 15 houses at the site near Plympton.
Once Wolf has run its latest funding package past shareholders for approval, it will appoint a contractor to commence the design and construction of a processing plant and infrastructure at the mine.
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The firm is in the final stages of tendering out the £65 million project, which is expected to take about six months.
Ultimately, the mine will form an open pit about 850m long by 540m wide, and 200m deep.
Wolf will now move ahead with purchasing the houses within the mine site.
These all have people living in them but the compulsory purchase was a condition of the planning permission for Hemerdon, granted by Devon County Council back in 1986.
Wolf has already negotiated options to purchase with many of the property owners, allowing this process "to move forward quickly", the firm said.
The firm plans to start mining by late 2014, creating 230 directly employed jobs and probably more within the supply chain.
Jeff Harrison, Wolf's UK operations manager, said many of those employed would be local and added: "It's been a long time coming, but I believe we are there now."
He was speaking after the joint UK and Australian listed company revealed it had sold enough shares to satisfy conditions of the binding funding agreement it signed with Resource Capital Fund VLP (RCF), a mining-focused, US-headquartered private equity firm.
It now has enough cash to provide working capital needed to start the Hemerdon project, repay loans and buy the Hemerdon houses.
The funds also allow Wolf to bring in a new "strategic investor", TTI (NZ) Limited, which now has a 19.9 per cent interest in the firm.
Wolf said its final funding package represents "a strong vote of confidence by Wolf's major shareholders in the strength and robust financial viability of the Hemerdon project".
Earlier this year it completed the first major infrastructure work on the project when a 600m link road was completed between Lee Moor Road and West Park Hill in Plympton.
Wolf Minerals' managing director Humphrey Hale said: "We are delighted to complete this placement, which sees the company funded to commence the development of the Hemerdon project and to welcome TTI (NZ) Limited to the register to assist us in taking the project into production."