Plant site preparation work continues at molybdenum mine owned by Avanti Mines at Kitsault in northwestern B.C.

Plant site preparation work continues at molybdenum mine owned by Avanti Mines at Kitsault in northwestern B.C.

Miners borrow while waiting for financing

Avanti Mines continues to do prep work for planned northwest B.C. molybdenum mine

Avanti Mining is borrowing $50 million to continue its preparatory work on a planned molybdenum mine at Kitsault on the north coast while waiting for (US) $612 million in financing to be approved.

The money is in addition to $40 million already borrowed for work at the site for what Avanti anticipates to be a mine costing nearly $1 billion.

The mine has a planned operating life of 15 years to produce molybdenum which is used to harden steel.

The company had been expecting a grouping of six international banks to approve the financing of the (US) $612 million by last month but now expects the final decision to be made this month.

Representatives of the banks toured the property in September and, according to Avanti, raised no material issues.

“We arranged the [$50 million] bridge loan so that we can continue with detailed engineering and pre-construction work while we finalize the complete debt and equity package for the project,” said company official Graham du Prez.

The company is also working on arranging other financing toward its overall goal of raising equity and taking on debt.

The list includes taking on a partner, selling stock and selling the silver that is also present in its ore body.

The company has already lined up sales agreements with key customers.

Since receiving final environmental approvals this year and after signing a benefits deal with the Nisga’a Lisims Government, Avanti began building a road to its site made up of a partnership of a Terrace company and one from the Nass Valley and by making preparations to expand its exploration camp into one to accommodate 150 people.

“Construction on the access road to Kitsault’s proposed plant site is now complete, and the area surrounding the proposed plant site is now accessible for the transportation of equipment,” said the company in a release this month.

Its intention is to be ready to begin full-on construction for a two-year period as soon as weather permits next spring.

A separate project, begun in October, has a contractor hired by Avanti practically rebuilding a provincial government bridge that crosses the Nass River so that heavy equipment can be safely trucked into Kitsault.

A company called AMEC Americas is doing the engineering work on the project and is adding 10 engineers to an existing force of 60 engineers.

Avanti itself has hired 11 managers since the summer as well as its pre-construction program takes shape leading to full on work.

“Avanti continues to actively recruit to build out its owner’s team and will be opening a project office in Terrace, British Columbia, which will act as the center of operations for recruiting efforts at the project,” a company release this month stated.

And while the company continues work on the ground, it is also considering a name change.

Company shareholders are to decide at a meeting later this month if the company name should be changed to Alloycorp Mining Inc. to better reflect its goal of making steel alloy metals.