sourceInformation from the website of Sundance Resources Limited, an Australian firm leading the multi-billion iron ore projects in Mbalam (Cameroon) and Nabeba (Congo) says two firms, one from China and another from Europe, have been shortlisted for infrastructure development of the projects.
"During the March Quarter, Sundance made significant progress on the port and rail Engineering Procurement and Construction ('EPC') tender. Sundance completed a short‐listing process which identified two preferred tenderers. One is a State‐Owned Enterprise (SOE) from China and the other is an international construction company from Europe," a release on Sundance March 2014 Quarterly Activities report states. Sources say the identity of the companies remain confidential for now as negations continue.
Sundance staff, it notes, conducted a site visit to one of the tender's construction sites and both tenderers delivered presentations to the company. The process has reportedly advanced to the detailed negotiation phase and the subsequent submissions from the tenderers confirm the price and contract durations are within the range expected from the estimates given in the Mbalam‐Nabeba Iron Ore Project Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) completed by Sundance in March 2011. The release also states that the tender bids include proposals for contractor‐facilitated financing in a number of structures ranging from EPC with facilitated debt finance through to a full Build‐Own‐Operate‐Transfer (BOOT) solution. "Sundance is confident this tender process will result in a preferred contractor being selected and an exclusivity arrangement being signed in the June Quarter, 2014, Giulio Casello, CEO and Managing Director Sundance Resources Limited, notes in the release. Earthworks also reportedly commenced during the period at both Nabeba and Mbalam sites to provide access to the main mine infrastructure locations. The early works are said to provide ease of access for construction teams and will also allow further sterilisation and geotechnical foundation drilling to be undertaken, once scheduled.
It was equally during the first quarter of 2014 that Sundance's subsidiaries, Cam Iron (in Cameroon) and Congo Iron (in Congo) signed a long-term off-take contract with leading global commodities trader, Noble Resources International. According to the terms of the agreement, Noble will buy all the production for the first 10 years of operation outside that allocated to project equity participants. Stakeholders say the contract with Noble Resources International will help facilitate completion of debt funding for the construction of the port, rail and mines infrastructure needed to take off mine production for the projects.