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Update on Funding and on Repayment of Asset Based Debt Facility & General Corporate Update

29 Apr 2024 07:00

Update on Funding and on Repayment of Asset Based Debt Facility & General Corporate Update

Vast Resources plc / Ticker: VAST / Index: AIM / Sector: Mining

29 April 2024

Vast Resources plc(‘Vast’ or the ‘Company’)

Update on Funding and on Repayment of Asset Based Debt FacilityGeneral Corporate Update

Funding

Vast Resources plc, the AIM-listed mining company, is pleased to announce an update in relation to the Asset Backed Debt facility from A&T Investments SARL (“Alpha”) as announced on 16 May 2022 and the debt owed to Mercuria Energy Trading SA (“Mercuria”) relating to Tranche A of the Prepayment Agreement announced on 21 March 2018.

As announced on 15 January 2024, the totality of the debt owed to Mercuria and Alpha had an effective repayment date of 29 February 2024, and as announced on 13 March 2024 discussions regarding the terms and conditions of a further extension of the loans have been continuing.

The debt currently due to Alpha is approximately US$5.5 million and the Company has now concluded legal documentation with Alpha under which US$1.5 million will be due to be repaid on 7 May 2024; a further US$1.5 million will be due to be repaid 30 days from the first repayment; and a further US$1.5 million will be due to be repaid 60 days from the first repayment. The Company expects to fund these amounts, to a large extent, from the refinancing as further detailed below.

Mercuria, to whom approximately US$3.9 million is currently due, have confirmed that a further extension and an appropriate contract with Mercuria will be prepared in due course.

At the same time the Company is also pleased to announce that discussions with the owner of the Swiss investment company (also the owner of the PGM metals subject to the Platinum Group Metals agreement and referred to above and in the Company’s Circular of 14 February 2024) for the provision of major restructuring finance for the Company, including payment of the amounts due to Alpha as set out above, have now reached an advanced stage; subject to the provider finalising their own financing arrangements, and in relation to this the Company can announce that these discussions are no longer conditional on completion of the first sale under the Platinum Group Metals agreement as stated in the Company’s Circular announced on 14 February 2024. Should the Company not be able to conclude this refinancing it will need to source alternative funding to be able to meet its obligations to Alpha including the payment due on the 7 May 2024 or otherwise agree revised payment terms.

Baita Plai

The first delivery has been completed under the new offtake agreement with Trafigura announced on 13 March 2024. At the mine, the anticipated higher-grade ore has been reached, although production levels have been constrained as the Company awaits the comprehensive refinancing as foreshadowed in the Company’s Circular of 14 February 2024 and as further referred to above.

Licence extension documentation is in the process of being finalised in order that this be submitted by the 12 May 2024 deadline.

Tajikistan

Processing project – Production at the mine was stopped during the winter due to extreme cold weather, but mining restarted at the beginning of March. 12,000 tons of ore has been stockpiled and is ready for processing. In addition, underground mining is continuing and will accumulate a two-month stockpile to be available at all times.

It is planned to fully insulate the plant so that there is no need for any stoppage next winter. The cost of this will not be for the account of the Company.

Takob and the Company are also in discussions with a new offtake partner to sell the fluorspar concentrate which would result in further revenue streams of the producing mine for which the Company expects to receive financial compensation.

Aprelevka – The Company had placed a team on the ground at Aprelevka for four weeks working within the production facility, and this has resulted in an improvement in recovery by 15%. The Company has also appointed consultant mining engineers who arrived on site on 11 April in order to advise on improving efficiencies at the mine and improving mining techniques. A programme for reprocessing high grade tailings together with fresh ore is also being implemented and is expected to yield results within the next two quarters.

The current plant installed capacity is 1,800tpd and is currently operating at 800tpd. The reprocessing of high-grade tailings will increase the plant production to over 1,000tpd while improvements in the mining and efficiencies in the plant continue. That, coupled with the recovery increases, will bring Aprelevka back to historic gold production levels.

In addition to the improvements on the production facility, and following a mine site visit by the Company’s consultants, the presence of high-grade ore in the current working areas has been confirmed. Vast has commissioned Formin to provide an updated resource report based on the SRK produced wireframes, collated historic data and the 2019-2022 drilling results.

Finally, during the Company’s recent site visit of the 400ha Kushmullo exploration licence area, the team encountered a high-grade copper hydroxide outcropping on which the Company tested copper grades between 7-37% at surface. The exploration programme referred to in the announcement of 16 January 2024 and which was carried out between 2019 and 2022 did not test for copper. We are therefore sending all the cores taken in this area for re-testing of copper and other non-ferrous metals.

The various developments at Aprelevka described above are all financed by Bay Square Pacific Ltd (‘Bay Square’), the 49% owner of Aprelevka, and the Company should benefit therefrom through its 10% earnings share agreement with Bay Square announced on 16 January 2024.

The Historic Parcel

The Company continues to have reason to believe that the delivery of the Parcel will be finalised at some stage. However, there can be no absolute certainty of this and therefore notwithstanding the Board’s continuing belief the Board is progressing the refinancing along with other funding discussions to provide for its immediate funding requirements.

PGM Marketing contract

Sample material is out with three interested purchasers, which purchasers include the Nikash Group with whom a contract was announced on 22 January 2024. The sample grades have been good but very variable between the different PGMs, and the variability has necessitated a longer period for testing than might otherwise have been the case. The test work being carried out will allow the concentrates to be separated into categories to maximise payables on a batch-by-batch basis. As a result of these processes, no sale of material has yet taken place, but the first sale is then expected to occur and this will be confirmed in due course

**ENDS**

For further information, visit www.vastplc.com or please contact:

Vast Resources plcAndrew Prelea (CEO)www.vastplc.com+44 (0) 20 7846 0974
Beaumont Cornish – Financial & Nominated AdvisorRoland CornishJames Biddlewww.beaumontcornish.com+44 (0) 20 7628 3396
Shore Capital Stockbrokers Limited – Joint Broker Toby Gibbs / James Thomas (Corporate Advisory)www.shorecapmarkets.co.uk+44 (0) 20 7408 4050
Axis Capital Markets Limited – Joint Broker Richard Hutchinson www.axcap247.com+44 (0) 20 3206 0320
St Brides Partners LimitedSusie Geliher / Charlotte Pagewww.stbridespartners.co.uk+44 (0) 20 7236 1177

ABOUT VAST RESOURCES PLC

Vast Resources plc is a United Kingdom AIM listed mining company with mines and projects in Romania, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.

In Romania, the Company is focused on the rapid advancement of high-quality projects by recommencing production at previously producing mines.

The Company's Romanian portfolio includes 100% interest in Vast Baita Plai SA which owns 100% of the producing Baita Plai Polymetallic Mine, located in the Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, an area which hosts Romania's largest polymetallic mines. The mine has a JORC compliant Reserve & Resource Report which underpins the initial mine production life of approximately 3-4 years with an in-situ total mineral resource of 15,695 tonnes copper equivalent with a further 1.8M-3M tonnes exploration target. The Company is now working on confirming an enlarged exploration target of up to 5.8M tonnes.

The Company also owns the Manaila Polymetallic Mine in Romania, which the Company is looking to bring back into production following a period of care and maintenance. The Company has also been granted the Manaila Carlibaba Extended Exploitation Licence that will allow the Company to re-examine the exploitation of the mineral resources within the larger Manaila Carlibaba licence area.

Vast has an interest in a joint venture company which provides exposure to a near term revenue opportunity from the Takob Mine processing facility in Tajikistan. The Takob Mine opportunity, which is 100% financed, will provide Vast with a 12.25 percent royalty over all sales of non-ferrous concentrate and any other metals produced.

Also in Tajikistan, Vast has been contracted to develop and manage the Aprelevka gold mines on behalf of its owner Gulf International Minerals Ltd (“Gulf”) under which Vast is entitled, inter alia, to 10% of the earnings that Gulf receives from its 49% interest in Aprelevka in joint venture with the government of Tajikistan. Aprelevka holds four active operational mining licences located along the Tien Shan Belt that extends through Central Asia, currently producing approximately 11,600oz of gold and 116,000 oz of silver per annum. It is the intention of the Company to assist in increasing Aprelevka’s production from these four mines closer to the historical peak production rates of approximately 27,000oz of gold and 250,000oz of silver per year from the operational mines.

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