Mountain Province unveils diamond refinancing

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Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. [MPVD-TSX, NYSE] shares rallied Wednesday August 19 after the company announced a proposed solution to its liquidity problems, involving its largest shareholder Dermot Desmond. He currently holds a 33% stake in the company.

The two-pronged proposal, scheduled to be put to a shareholder vote September 29, 2020,    would see Desmond refinancing the company’s US$25 million maturing revolving credit line on a one-year term. The proposal includes a US$50 million increase to a previously announced rough diamond sales agreement.

It is expected a second cash injection would be needed in 2021 if rough diamond markets do not significantly improve.

Mountain Province, 49%, and joint venture with De Beers Ltd., 51%, operate the world’s largest and richest new diamond mine – Gahcho Kue – in Canada’s  Northwest Territories.

Gahcho Kue is a fly-in-fly out operation 280 km northeast of Yellowknife and is expected to produce an average of 4.5 million carats per year (100%) over an initial 12-year lifespan.  Production during the first five years (2017 to 2021) Is expected to average 5.4 million carats annually.

However, news of the re-financing comes after the company’s financial and operational results in the second quarter of 2020 were heavily impacted by COVID-19 headwinds and associated global migration efforts to slow down the spread of the virus.

“The severe impact of COVID-19 meant that the market for rough diamonds came to a virtual halt in the second quarter and we were unable to execute any normal sales,” said President and CEO Stuart Brown.

The company will also seek approval at the special meeting for an increase from US$50 million to US$100 million in the sales capacity under a previous diamond sales agreement between the company and subsidiaries of Dunebridge Worldwide Ltd.

This will allow the company to continue selling its run of mine diamonds (below 10.8 carats) at the prevailing market price, and potentially share in the future upside should the traditional sales channels for rough diamonds remain closed or subdued.

On Wednesday, Mountain Province shares jumped 8% or $0.03 to 40 cents.

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