Sierra Leone-based mining firm Sierra Rutile has extended the maturity dates on its existing US$20mn working capital facility and US$15mn standby loan facility provided by Nedbank until May 30, 2017.

This is a 14-month extension, arranged through Nedbank’s London branch.

The working capital facility continues to carry an interest rate of Libor plus 5% and has an arrangement fee of 1% of the facility amount.

The standby facility continues to carry an interest rate of Libor plus 2% with no arrangement or commitment fees, and its purpose has been expanded to include general corporate purposes, on top of funding the construction of the Gangama Dry mine. The open-pit rutile (a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide) operation is expected to commence production in late Q2, 2016.

Sierra Rutile has also received confirmation of formal credit approval from Nedbank for a hedging facility to hedge its fuel supplies and interest rates exposure and is in the process of finalising documentation for that facility. Once in place, this would allow Sierra Rutile to protect itself from future increases in fuel costs and interest rates.

John Sisay, Sierra Rutile’s CEO, says: “The extension of the Nedbank facilities provides further financial flexibility to Sierra Rutile during the ramp-up stage of the Gangama Dry mine and also increases the flexibility to manage our working capital requirements more efficiently into 2017.”

Nivaash Singh, Nedbank CIB international mining finance head, adds: “Nedbank is keen to back the right projects in the right jurisdictions in Africa that have strong management teams, and well-run operations.”

Sierra Rutile produces titanium feedstock industrial minerals (primarily rutile), as well as smaller quantities of zircon. Its mines are located in the south west of Sierra Leone, on one of the largest natural rutile deposits in the world. The firm exports internationally to Asia, North and South America, Europe and Mena.