UPDATE 7.25am: Noble Mineral Resources has accepted Resolute Mining's $85 million financing offer after shareholders narrowly rejected a rival deal with China's Zhongrun Mining Investment yesterday.
The agreement means Resolute will go ahead with plans to immediately acquire 19.99 per cent of the company through share sale agreements.
To solve Noble's immediate debt crisis Resolute will also provide an immediate $US15 million loan and a $US20 million guarantee to Investec to support a temporary extension to Noble's existing project loan facility.
Resolute will also underwrite a $78.6 million rights issue priced at 12 cents a share.
The financing and support will allow Noble to continue the ramp-up of its Bibiani gold project in Ghana.Noble managing director Wayne Norris said the board had been presented with a new and more
complete financing offer from Resolute, which it had accepted following the outcome of yesterday’s
meeting."The fact that Noble attracted competing proposals from two reputable parties is testimony to the
quality of the Bibiani project," he said."Our shareholders have made their preference clear through yesterday’s vote and the Noble board
has acted immediately to secure the critical funding that the company requires to maintain ongoing
operations."Importantly, Resolute’s revised offer addressed a number of Noble’s key concerns as they related
to certainty and execution risk. It is the best available option for the company providing both an
immediate and a longer-term funding solution."We welcome Resolute as a significant new shareholder in Noble and look forward to their ongoing
support as we look to maximise the value of Noble’s assets in Ghana."The past several months have seen considerable importance placed on securing a solution to the
Company’s immediate and longer-term financing needs. Now we have this in place, we can once
again focus on unlocking the potential of Bibiani for the benefit of all stakeholders."Resolute's chief executive Peter Sullivan said he was delighted that Noble has recognised the
benefits of Resolute’s financing proposal and accepted it.
"We look forward to working efficiently with Noble and its advisers to implement the proposal and maximise the performance of the Bibiani asset, for the benefit of all security holders," he said."We are also confident that Noble will benefit from our proven African operational expertise,
which no doubt will be of significant value to the company."Noble shares were up one cent, or 8 per cent, to 13.5 cents at 7.25am while Resolute shares were up two cents, or 1.05 per cent, to $1.93.