Oman's wealth fund to invest $120m in Spain's Salamanca mine


The sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman has signed an agreement to invest up to $120m to fully fund Berkeley Energia's Salamanca mine in Spain to bring it into production. 

Through the investment, the fund is poised to become a long-term strategic investor in Berkeley, as well as a potential offtake partner.

Under the agreement, the investment comprises interest-free and unsecured convertible loan of $65m, which can be converted into ordinary shares.

As a result, the wealth fund can own around 28% of Berkeley.

Berkeley Energia managing director Paul Atherley noted that the investment would enable the company to realise the full potential of the Salamanca project.

"The fund's interest in matching our future off-take contracts will further enhance our revenue stream."

Atherley said: "The project benefits from a rare combination of low up front capital cost and very low operating costs and due in part to its location in the heart of the European Union we are able to contract supply at prices well above the current spot price.

"The fund's interest in matching our future off-take contracts will further enhance our revenue stream."

In addition, the fund will offer three tranches of options financing a further $55m towards development costs of the Salamanca mine and earn the right to hold an additional 9% stake in the company. 

Based on a feasibility study published in July last year, the project has a net present value of $531.9m with an internal rate of return of 60% at a discount rate of 8%. 

The mine has indicated and measured resources totalling 59.8 million pounds of uranium (U3O8).           

Amec Foster Wheeler has been contracted to undertake the front end engineering design (FEED) for the project.