Cargill has operated in Ukraine since 1991 with offices in several cities to support its more than 500 in-country employees. Cargill’s main Ukraine businesses are in the agricultural sector and include a deep-sea vessel terminal at Port Yuzhny close to the terminal Black Iron plans to use to ship its iron ore.
Black Iron Inc. announced that it has selected Cargill Incorporated for offtake rights on the initial four million tonnes per year of production from its Shymanivske iron ore project and a US$75 million finance facility to be used for Project construction.
Subject to completion of due diligence and successful conclusion of negotiations, Cargill will offtake the production and extend financing of US$75 million for the construction of the Project through a finance facility. Drawdown on this funding will be subject to certain conditions being met, as is customary for this type of transaction, mainly related to the Project being fully permitted and financed for construction. Black Iron and Cargill will now start work on definitive binding offtake and financing agreements which reflect the Proposal. Based on the proposal agreed between Black Iron and Cargill (the “Proposal”), the offtake agreement will be for an initial term of ten years and will include a profit-sharing component which will align the interests of both parties and thereby generate a strong interdependent relationship of benefit to both parties. On the profit share, Black Iron will receive 100% of the 65% iron content fines benchmark price, currently ~$230 per tonne, and share with Cargill a portion of the incremental sale price of its 3% higher (68%) iron content and low impurity magnetite product.
Cargill’s metals business focuses on iron ore and steel trading. Connecting iron ore miners around the world with steel mills and steel end users in key markets, Cargill Metals trades over ~50 million tonnes of iron ore per year and is also a strategic investor of a number of mining operations in North America and Northern Europe.
Black Iron and Cargill Metals agree that, as the world is becoming more environmentally conscious it will naturally turn to ores with a higher iron content and in forms such as pellets/pellet feed that reduce emissions in the production of steel.
Black Iron’s planned 68% iron content magnetite pellet feed is in the top 4% of global production by iron content and is anticipated to reduce emissions generated in the production of steel by an estimated 30% as compared to the more commonly consumed 62% iron content hematite fines. It is envisaged that the high-quality product from the Shymanivske iron ore project will attract a premium price in a variety of markets.
Black Iron’s CEO Matt Simpson stated: “Black Iron received several offtake and investment proposals and chose Cargill based on its proposal striking the optimal balance of investment quantum, structure and shared vision on the increasing demand for high- grade ore as the global ferrous industry is shifting to become greener. Cargill brings tremendous value not only in strengthening the project funding with a US$75 million financing facility but, more importantly, its global network and local footprints, unique industry insight and successful experience in the technical marketing of high-grade ore to customers around the world.”
“We are very pleased to help finance Black Iron’s Shymanivske Project,” Lee Kirk, Managing Director, Cargill Metals said. “A relationship with Black Iron would be an excellent fit with Cargill Metals’ growth strategy to develop a high-grade and CO2 reducing iron ore portfolio, to help customers navigate the environmental and carbon challenges and opportunities ahead, and to support the sustainability efforts and low carbon ambitions of the ferrous industry.”
The selection of Cargill as Black Iron’s preferred offtake purchaser has triggered the following activities to bring the Project to a fully financed state for construction:
– Update of the Project’s feasibility study will commence upon receipt and review of proposals already requested.
– Selection and negotiation of binding terms with the preferred engineering, procurement and construction contractor who proposes to invest ~US$65 million in the Project.
– Commencement of third-party due diligence with a consortium of major international financial institutions on binding agreements for senior debt, US$100 million royalty investment and political risk insurance.
The above activities will be supported by the outputs from the environmental impact assessment and Ukraine land transfer work currently ongoing which were previously announced.