Petropavlovsk is a major shareholder (31.1%) of IRC Limited and guarantor of a US$225m debt facility, whereby the Company’s total guarantee liability is currently US$160m but which fluctuates over the life of the loan depending on certain operational milestones being met and the duration of the loan. IRC commenced its scheduled loan repayments in Q2 2019.
IRC’s main operation, the 100% owned K&S mine, is located in the Russian Far East where it mines and produces high grade (65% iron ore concentrate) principally for export to China given its proximity to the border. The K&S mine reached full operating capacity in Q4 2019 and is expected to benefit further from its geographical advantage once a bridge across the Amur river to China is completed in 2021.
IRC is considered as non-core and was Petropavlovsk’s Non Precious Metals Division before it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in late 2010 (stock code 1029).
On 18 March 2020, Petropavlovsk entered into an agreement with Stocken Board AG (“Stocken”), a Liechtenstein-incorporated investment company that may lead to the disposal of a 29.9% holding in IRC for US$10 million which is contingent on the removal of the IRC debt guarantees.
Further information on IRC may be found at www.ircgroup.com.hk