Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) has obtained a non-binding and conditional letter of interest (LOI) from Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s export credit agency (ECA), for a debt funding package of up to A$400m ($261.6m).

The funding will support the construction and execution phase of its Dubbo rare earths and critical minerals project in New South Wales, Australia.

This interest by EDC is a result of ongoing discussions to fund the Dubbo Project, which has attracted attention from various government bodies, investors and industry groups, especially in North America.

The alignment of policies between Australia and North American jurisdictions on critical minerals has been a significant factor in this engagement.

EDC’s support for the Dubbo Project is contingent on the completion of its due diligence process, internal approvals and standard project finance conditions.

The Canadian agency’s involvement is also bolstered by the potential for Canadian companies to supply equipment and services during the project’s execution phase.

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The LOI from EDC, which is set to expire on 25 April 2025, follows previous financial backing from Export Finance Australia (EFA), which provided conditional support of A$200m, and a $600m commitment from the Export-Import Bank of the US.

This indicative financial support from EDC enhances the sourcing flexibility for the Dubbo Project and reflects the increasing confidence in the project’s shared financing structure.

ASM is actively continuing discussions with other ECAs and commercial banks to participate in the debt funding of the Dubbo Project.

The company is working towards securing additional conditional letters of support and will provide updates to the market as these are issued.

ASM managing director and CEO Rowena Smith said: “We are thrilled with the support received to date from prospective financiers for the Dubbo Project, especially this latest letter of interest from Export Development Canada.

“Our focus has been on building strategic partnerships in North America that support the development of our mine to metals strategy.

“We see the growing strength of those relationships and the momentum in financial support as recognition of the strength of the Dubbo Project and its significance as a reliable, responsible and secure source of critical minerals.”