Operis is pleased to have provided a full model audit in support of Lucara Diamond Corp’s underground expansion of the Karowe diamond mine located in Botswana. The project involves raising $220m of senior debt funding from a syndicate of five mandated lead arrangers.
The committed capital is provided by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa Finance Corp., ING, Natixis, and Societe Generale, London Branch. The funding is in the form of a project finance facility totalling $170m and a working capital facility with a capacity of $50m. The latter will be used to re-finance Lucara Diamond Corp’s existing debt and support ongoing operations. An initial equity contribution of $30m will also be used to finance the Karowe diamond mine expansion.
Fully commissioned in 2012, the Karowe diamond mine is a large scale open-pit mine with a depth of 324 metres below the surface. It is one of the world’s leading producers of large, high quality, Type IIA diamonds (above 10.8 carats). In just over eight years, the Karowe diamond mine has yielded four of the ten largest diamonds in recorded history, including the 1,758 carats Sewelô diamond, the third-largest rough diamond ever found, excavated from the mine in 2019.
The expansion of the Karowe diamond mine is expected to extend the life of the mine out from 2025 until at least 2040. The first ore from the underground project is expected to be drawn in 2026.