5 Aug 2022 14:07

Sviblov firm agrees to buy Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project from Amur Minerals for $35 mln

MOSCOW. Aug 5 (Interfax) - Bering Metals, a company controlled by Vladislav Sviblov, has reached an agreement to buy the Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project in the Amur region from Amur Minerals.

Amur Minerals said in a filing with the LSE that the total consideration for the transaction was $35 million to be paid upon completion, including payment of inter-group loan amounts owed to Amur under intra-group loans.

A Sviblov firm earlier agreed to acquire the Kun-Manie project for $105 million, of which $15 million would be paid upon the closure of the transaction, $10 million within one year and $50 million within four years, however Amur Minerals shareholders did not back the offer.

The revised offer is also subject to approval by shareholders, but the "$35 million offer for the purchase of our Kun-Manie asset is a last and final offer from Bering Metals," said Robin Young, CEO of Amur Minerals. Economic sanctions and Russian foreign currency exchange controls "have adversely impacted our ability to advance, develop and place Kun-Manie into production in the foreseeable future," Young said. "Should shareholders reject the sale of Kun-Manie, there are virtually no alternatives available to our advancing development of the project," he said.

The likelihood of the revised offer being accepted increases thanks to the promise of special dividends of 1.8 pence per share to Amur shareholders within 90 days of completion. In the previous configuration, Amur Minerals planned to use the proceeds from the first tranche of payment for an acquisition via a reverse takeover within six months of completion. Only portions of the second and third payments would be paid as dividends to shareholders.

Amur Minerals is a UK-based company engaged in mineral exploration in the Russian Far East. Kun-Manie is the company's flagship project. A feasibility study put capex at $1.14 billion.

Sviblov, a former real estate executive, invested in the Ozernoye polymetallic ore deposit in 2019 and then began to put together a portfolio of gold mining assets. In 2020, he acquired major gold miner Highland Gold and the Darkhan and Darasun mines, and in 2021 he bought Trans-Siberian Gold and Zoloto Kamchatki. Sviblov's companies together became Russia's third largest gold producer in 2021, with combined output of about 16 tonnes. In April 2022, Highland agreed to buy the Russian gold mining assets of Canada's Kinross Gold.