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Financial services provider Standard Bank Group has been awarded Project Finance magazine’s 2012 African Mining Deal of The Year for the US$700 million (R6.21 billion) project funding for the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) situated on the Zambian copper belt.

The award recognises Standard Bank‘s capabilities and achievements in helping implement KCM‘s brownfields expansion project to re-establish mining operations and complete the development of the Konkola Deep Mining Project.

In November 2004, KCM was purchased by Vedanta Resources and the fully integrated copper operations include a number of opencast mines, a large underground mine, leaching plant, a new flash smelter, modernised concentrators, a modernised refinery and a sulphuric acid plant.

Standard Bank provided a US$500 million bridge finance facility to KCM in 2011 that was guaranteed by Vedanta. Standard Bank‘s head of Mining and Metals Finance, Brad Breetzke, said that highlights of the deal were that it was the single largest export credit backed underwrite by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation, adding that the deal would result in KCM becoming one of the top 10copper producers in the world, as well as one of the lowest-cost producers.

“Innovative risk mitigation techniques were used in this deal in order to reduce the level of country risk while maximising funding into Zambia. The deal size demonstrates the amount of confidence that investors have in Zambia and its mining sector.”

Meanwhile, at the announcement of the prestigious award, Breetzke said that the accolade was testament to Standard Banks expertise in finance for major projects in its specialist areas not only in mining and metals, but oil and gas, power and infrastructure. In particular, he said, the award highlighted the groups ability to advise clients on significant cross-border deals in both emerging and developed markets.

“Standard Bank is pleased to have won this award for our work in a field that is so important for the revival of the Zambian copper belt and in maintaining Africa‘s current positive economic growth trajectory.”

As a leading financial institution with Africa as its core competence, Standard Bank is well placed and has considerable local and international knowledge and sector expertise to facilitate company and client growth. These include project finance, natural resources and foreign exchange to assist companies with their investments of capital, technology and skills across borders and geographies, explained Breetzke.

He further pointed out that Standard Bank‘s strong balance sheet, depth of expertise and on-the-ground presence in 18 African markets enable it to continue to lend to projects across key commodity sectors on the continent.

Once the expansion project is complete, KCM will double its production to 400 000 tpa of copper and extend the mines life by 23 years.

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