The following statement was made at today's Annual General Meeting by EMED Mining's Chairman Ronnie Beevor:
I am delighted to welcome you all to the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Company here in Minas de Riotinto - where you can see the potential first hand of our unique copper project at the Rio Tinto Copper Mine.
First, let me introduce myself and the other Directors of EMED Mining who are all present here today:
· I am Ronnie Beevor, Non-Executive Chairman of the Company
· Harry Anagnostaras-Adams is the Company's Managing Director;
· John Leach is the Company's Finance Director; and
· Non-executive Directors Jasper Bertisen, Roger Davey, Bob Francis, Ashwath Mehra and Jose Sierra.
The Directors here represent around 32% of the fully-diluted capital of EMED Mining.
For shareholders unable to attend today, we will conduct an on-line investor briefing by the Managing Director on 18 June 2012 at 15.00 BST (10am Toronto time), which will be broadcast live via video conference. To participate in the briefing, during which participants can email questions, attendees should go to www.presentation-matters.co.uk/emed.
My address and the Managing Director's presentation to today's meeting are now available on the Company's website.
During the past 12 months EMED Mining has continued to implement its business plan. Our priority continues to be the restart of production at the Cerro Colorado open pit of the Rio Tinto Copper Mine, which is the first of our planned operations here and which we expect to continue for more than 20 years.
We continue to collaborate closely with our suppliers and advisers, the regulatory authorities of the Government of Andalucía and the project financiers with a view to triggering the Rio Tinto Copper Mine by the end of 2012. On this front, following Minister Avila's confirmation in early 2011 that the Government of Andalucia had received the necessary documents from the legal due diligence viewpoint for administrative approval of the Company's mineral rights, its regulatory authorities proceeded to process the Company's submissions in respect of all the technical, both environmental and operational, and economic aspects.
Our project has been particularly challenging for our Company. We have had to spend five years and €50 million removing legal and financial complexities, carrying out care & maintenance, protecting public safety and formulating plans which are appropriate for the twenty first century. We must also highlight that our project has also been particularly challenging for the Junta de Andalucia. EMED Mining greatly appreciates the contribution of the Junta de Andalucia to ensure that the project is not just acceptable as regards its legal structure, but that it also complies with the requirements of today in every respect environmentally, operationally, economically and socially.
As regards the environmental aspects, following informal and conditional agreements with the Government of Andalucia in early 2012, we have since updated and resubmitted the environmental plans for the project and have now agreed to make them available for public viewing and paid the associated administrative fees. After taking into account the public review results, a key next step for us will be to agree the financial bonding for the Company's proposed undertakings in respect of the environment and personnel entitlements.
As regards the operational aspects, the Company has lodged all documents and reports that have been requested to date. The relevant sections have been referred by the Government of Andalucia to the national technical review institutes. The review agencies have met with our teams and commenced site visits and we are awaiting feedback. We will update documentation if and where necessary.
The Company will continue to serve the needs of the regulatory authorities and review agencies to ensure full compliance with all requirements so that the Government is in a position to consider approvals of the environmental management and restoration plan, administrative standing of the Company's mineral rights and the conditional approval of the project operational plans subject obviously to lodgement of the financial bonds and satisfaction of the operating licensing process as project works proceed.
We continue to ensure that, once regulatory approvals permit, we can recommence the mine as early as possible. With that in mind, and in respect of the financial aspects of the plans, we are proud that our Company represents such a strong group of shareholders which includes global leaders in investment institutions specialising in the mining sector. We are also proud to represent some 2,000 individual shareholders around the world, including from Spain. And of course it is notable that we have already agreed in principle $175m financing arrangements with Goldman Sachs International in addition to the $30m agreement with Chinese firm Xiangguang International Holdings Limited - which included a $15m private placement, a $15m overrun facility and an offtake agreement. Goldman Sachs has appointed its technical experts and its legal advisers have commenced drafting detailed documentation. We will then be ready to formalise the financing arrangements as soon as the project is finalised with the regulatory authorities.
At the Rio Tinto site we have mobilised a construction management team and have commenced the detailed engineering for the refurbishment and modernization programmes. In addition, we have commenced project execution planning so that the re-start can be implemented, as soon as the project approval is received from the regulatory authorities. Our human resources department has a large database of applicants for training and potential recruitment which we look forward to commencing as soon as it is appropriate in consultation with all the relevant agencies.
We have also established the EMED Tartessus Foundation which is focused purely on the economic diversification of the Cuenca Minera of Andalucia, with enterprises which are sustainable for the long term and in consultation with the community and authorities.
A task which can materially affect the timetable is the completion of arrangements for full permanent access to lands required for deposition of waste material and the associated environmental safety, management and restoration plans. Much of this land is owned by third parties. We are pleased that commercial negotiations are progressing and we strive to overcome historical tensions and achieve effective collaboration. The judiciary has also this month re-affirmed our authority for maintenance of the tailings dams.
The Board and Management are naturally fully committed to achieving the Company's business plan and to responsibly generating economic value for shareholders and other stakeholders for the long term. Our world today is experiencing troubled times indeed - in the financial markets and in many parts of the real economy, especially in Europe and including right here in the Cuenca Minera of Andalucia. Our Rio Tinto Mine is potentially an important engine for economic recovery and it will be our Company's honour to have the responsibility and opportunity to develop and operate the mine for the long term.
We greatly appreciate the support of the communities here whom we are fully committed to serving for the long term. And in the financial markets, the positive sentiment towards this project is highlighted by the fact that, excluding companies that have been taken over, EMED Mining's share price has been in the top quartile of performance of the forty two copper companies dual-listed on the TSX since we listed there in 2010.
In Slovakia, the Company is intensifying consultations with the affected communities, carrying out studies for regulatory permitting and continuing negotiations with local parties - to progress our plans to develop our 100% owned Detva Gold Project.
We maintain close consultation with the newly formed government in Slovakia, its administration and with the local communities with a view to being designated a Mining Lease Area, a step which is required so that we can commence bulk sampling and other activities within the planned pre-feasibility study. We then trigger the final feasibility study, including environmental management and restoration plans for formal consideration by the local community and regulators.
With that in mind in Slovakia and with the aim of increasing community understanding and consultation at this early stage of assessing project alternatives and feasibility, we have voluntarily agreed to prepare two reports on the Detva Gold Project: a Preliminary Social Impact Study and a Preliminary Techno-Economic Study.
Our Detva Gold Project is of recognised regional and national importance. We have already invested a total of €10M in Slovakia and the Slovakian Government is completely supportive of the initiatives we have proposed, subject to all compliance requirements.
We are also working with the neighbouring landholders in Slovakia, with a view to reaching mutually satisfactory commercial arrangements. So far, as announced in May, we have signed a Collaboration and Option Agreement with a factory facility adjacent to our Biely Vrch deposit.
In Cyprus, EMED Mining continues to assess its large geological database of historical copper mining properties which has resulted in the identification of a number of new targets. Discussions are progressing with stakeholders over the entire island in a manner appropriate to the current re-unification efforts. Exploration activities are at a reconnaissance level, aimed at identifying targets large enough to warrant drilling after Rio Tinto starts up.
I would like to thank the Government of Andalucía and local municipalities for their continued support of our plans to re-start copper production at Rio Tinto, as well as the authorities we have been liaising with in Slovakia and in Cyprus.
Finally, I greatly appreciate the support of all of our shareholders, all of our personnel and all of our families. I look forward to EMED Mining's next phase of starting production.
The ordinary shares of the Company have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "U.S. Securities Act"), or any U.S. state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an available exemption from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable U.S. state securities laws. No securities commission has approved or disapproved the contents of this press release.
Notes to Editors: About EMED Mining Public Limited
EMED Mining was admitted to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in May 2005 and on the Toronto Stock Exchange in December 2010.
The Company is committed to responsible development of metal production in Europe, with a focus on copper, gold and critical raw materials.
The Company's region of interest is the tectonic belts spanning across Europe and over to the Middle East. The strategy is to evaluate exploration and development opportunities in several jurisdictions throughout this quality mineral belt and to promote sustainable development practices through the implementation of European Union and other international standards. The Company strictly implements its Environmental & Community Policies.
EMED Mining is focused on two key projects in Spain and Slovakia:
Copper in Spain: The Company's priority is to progress the planning and permitting process required to commence production from its wholly-owned Rio Tinto Copper Mine. Located 65km northwest of Sevilla in Andalucía, the open-pit mine, processing plant and waste disposal facilities has been on care and maintenance since 2001.
Gold in Slovakia: EMED Mining discovered the Biely Vrch porphyry gold deposit and is currently advancing the planning and permitting necessary for development.
EMED Mining has the following other notable earlier-stage activities:
¦ Exploration licences in the copper-mining districts of Cyprus; and
¦ A 16% shareholding in KEFI Minerals Plc which operates exploration joint ventures in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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