Chaarat says China deal could help Kyrgyz project make the grade

Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:30pm EDT
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By Sarah Young

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Chaarat Gold said it is making progress in its talks with a Chinese investor, giving it confidence it will be able to source the $450 million it estimates it needs to take its project in Kyrgyzstan to full production.

A deal with Shandong Gold Group, China's second-largest producer of the metal by reserves, is one of the options for London-listed Chaarat.

"Shandong Gold is ... talking to us because they know it's one of the best deposits in Asia, if not in the world, and they want to be there first," Chief Executive Dekel Golan told Reuters on Friday.

Chaarat, which first said Shandong was considering an investment in the company in November, is trying to develop a gold deposit in mountains in the far west of the impoverished former Soviet Republic.

With a market capitalisation of about $80 million, Chaarat has $25 million in the bank and is considering a range of options to help make up the financing shortfall.

Golan said talks on the possible Chinese investment were "pretty advanced" and listed other options for meeting the balance of the funding. "Some of that money will be generated from production, some ... is going to be either debt or some other facility, it's not going to be only equity," he said.

FUNDING CLIMATE   Continued...