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Stornoway secures bridge finance

Quebec’s first and only diamond mine operator Stornoway Diamond Corp has bought itself some more financial wiggle room after it secured a bridge loan while the company undertakes a strategic review to restructure its finances.
Stornoway secures bridge finance Stornoway secures bridge finance Stornoway secures bridge finance Stornoway secures bridge finance Stornoway secures bridge finance

Stornoway Diamond Corp has secured bridge funding while it looks for strategic alternatives

The company's flagship Renard mine has been fraught with issues from the outset, including much higher-than-expected diamond breakage and a problematic transition from openpit to underground mining.

The mine's key operational and financial highlights of 2018 reflect its woes. At C$165.5 million, its 2018 revenues were down 16% from 2017 while operating expenses jumped 47% year-on-year.

Carats recovered in 2018 fell 19% to 1.3Mct, ultimately adding to the headline net loss of $133.8 million, compared with the 2017 adjusted loss of $4.9 million.

The financing entails up to $11.7 million available from Diaquem, an affiliate of Investissement Québec. Diaquem has also agreed to advance $1.9 million in estimated royalties and $2.5 million in estimated taxes owing. Another amount of up to $5.9 million will be available from the consortium of lenders that financed Renard, with $2.8 million of that amount to be supplied by Osisko Gold Royalties which has a diamond streaming agreement on Renard.

The bridge facility carries a coupon of 8.25%.

Stornoway has also entered into an agreement with holders of its convertible debentures to postpone interest payments until the end of 2019. The company has also received waivers from several Quebec authorities to waive interest payments on loans, also until the end of this year.

Excluding reserves, the Renard mine ended 2018 with an indicated resource of 3.7Mct in 8.7Mt grading 42.3 carats per hundred tonnes. It also has 13Mct held in 23.4Mt at 55.8cpht inferred, with significant exploration upside.

The company's (TSX:SWY) stock has all but been wiped out on the TSX, falling by one-third to a new 12-month low of 2c on Tuesday, reducing the company's market capitalisation to $18.5 million.