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    EQR progressing Saloro tungsten acquisition

    EQ Resources (ASX:EQR) and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management have satisfied all conditions precedent to acquire European tungsten producer Saloro and raise $25 million via a placement.

    EQ Resources is the 100% owner of the Mt Carbine Tungsten Mine near Cairns in Australia. It has also acquired 100% of the Barruecopardo Tungsten Operation in Spain.

    Today (19 January 2024), the company announced the appointment of experienced mining company director and mining finance executive Stephen Weir as Non-Executive Director. The appointment was agreed between the company and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management as part of the $25 million investment in EQR by Oaktree.

    Weir is a former Chief Executive Officer of Magnetite Mines Ltd (ASX:MGT), a company focused on the development of the Razorback Iron Ore Project in the Braemar region of South Australia, an emerging iron ore region.

    Chief Executive Officer Kevin MacNeill says the transaction provides EQR’s shareholders an exposure to two geographically diverse tungsten operations across top-tier mining jurisdictions.

    He says it also offers a re-rating opportunity due to enhanced production scale and exploration upside within the exploration permits at Mt. Carbine and Barruecopardo.

    “Both operations under a combined leadership and with complementary expertise will provide cost-saving as well as significant operational synergies.”

    Ahead of closing, Saloro had outstanding debts of some €35 million to three third-party Spanish banks. At closing, the company and Oaktree agreed to revised transaction terms and reduced banking partners from three to two.

    Consequently, Saloro repaid the relevant Saloro Bank Facilities of €10 million held with one of the Spanish banks. EQ Resources says initial terms of the transaction agreements included an obligation for the company to repay €5 million of the Saloro bank facilities, utilising the subscription proceeds received from Oaktree.

    Given Saloro’s cash position at closing, the company committed a €10 million repayment instead, lowering Saloro’s forecast interest expenses.

    Through the acquisition of Saloro, EQ Resources says it adds a ‘leading’ European tungsten producing mine to its project portfolio.

    The company says this aligns with its corporate strategy to become a substantial and globally leading supplier of responsibly produced tungsten, a mineral and metal categorised as highly strategic and critical by governments of industrialised economies.

    Oaktree’s investment in EQ Resources ‘enhances the company’s shareholder register’ and capital market positioning, supporting the further expansion of both, Mt Carbine and Barruecopardo, operations.

    Oaktree is a global investment manager specialising in alternative investments, with $183 billion in assets under management as of 30 September 2023.

    Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

    Images: EQ Resources
    Adam Orlando
    Adam Orlando
    stocks.com.au Senior Reporter Adam Orlando more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris. Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.