Saturday, September 23, 2023
BusinessKEFI gold ready for mine construction

KEFI gold ready for mine construction

Executive says game on as security issues resolve at gold mine

KEFI Gold and Copper is gearing up to begin the first phase of its Tulu Kapi gold mine project after securing funding for development in June.

According to the company, Tulu Kapi Gold Mines plans to start relocating local communities in the coming months – marking the official launch of the mine development.

KEFI Gold recently wrapped a three-day workshop with government agencies to map out the mine project’s rollout over the next few months, prioritizing initial actions like community resettlement.

KEFI Gold’s Executive Chairman says the company is ready to start construction early next year on its Tulu Kapi gold mine project.

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“We’ll place orders, and equipment for construction will arrive in January or February,” said Harry Anagnostaras-Adams, KEFI’s executive chairman.

As KEFI engages the local community ahead of relocation over the coming months, Anagnostaras-Adams says things will “continue to get even better” as residents see benefits and preparation helps them relax.

“We’re ready to start taking our steps forward,” the Chairman notes, expressing confidence KEFI can begin construction in the New Year.

KEFI Gold and Copper plans to initially spend over one billion birr relocating nearly 360 households from its Tulu Kapi gold mine site in western Oromia. The funds will go towards building new homes, cash compensation for lost harvests, and community support.

While issues with community resettlement delayed the project, KEFI says all outstanding financing conditions requiring Ethiopian government input have now been met. The umbrella funding structure complies with National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) policies and guidelines, according to the company.

KEFI has resolved all major conditions precedent with the Ethiopian government to finance its Tulu Kapi gold mine project.

As Anagnostaras-Adams explains, the first major step was for the two banks in the funding syndicate to receive equal legal rights and protections in Ethiopia. This was achieved in March 2023 when Ethiopia granted African Finance Corporation country membership, a strategic move for both parties.

According to the Chairman, the second major condition KEFI had to meet was establishing permanent security around Tulu Kapi to ensure construction and operations could proceed unimpeded. This was achieved in April 2023 when relevant government agencies boosted security in surrounding areas, he says.

Despite securing financing, Ministry of Mines officials have criticized KEFI’s readiness to start up, citing security issues as the project’s main hurdle in the past.

“Security was the only issue left,” Anagnostaras-Adams told The Reporter. “There was a misunderstanding with the Ministry, but that’s history now. The fundamental question is: does the company want to develop as fast as possible? Of course we do. If we spent USD 80 million, why do you think we didn’t? We want to develop and make money.”

The Chairman says KEFI certainly wants to move ahead rapidly.

“Security forces are being deployed around remote sites. The government has made a large commitment to sort things out and restore calm. We were not being attacked by political rivals or anything like that. But law and order issues were a problem. The road routes are now open,” said the Executive Chairman.

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