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Mining Report: Foran pursues pension plan proposal, could provide hundreds of millions

A mining company working at a project site about 80 kilometres from Flin Flon says it is looking for funding from an unorthodox source.
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Core samples.

A mining company working at a project site about 80 kilometres from Flin Flon says it is looking for funding from an unorthodox source.

Foran Mining announced it had reached a non-binding term sheet with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. No firm deal has yet been reached, but the term sheet may lead to the board’s pension fund investing millions in Foran’s McIlvenna Bay project - as much as $200 million.

In a statement issued August 8, Foran spokespeople qualified the announcement by saying the deal was not finalized and may not follow the terms as announced, possibly not proceeding at all.

"The parties are now under exclusivity and intend to enter into definitive documentation in Q3 2022. The proposed investment remains subject to, among other things, ongoing due diligence by Ontario Teachers’ and Foran securing a senior secured credit facility,” reads the statement.

“No assurance can be given that the proposed investment described herein will be completed in accordance with the terms described or at all.”

The term sheet would include using money raised from the pension plan fund - about $180 million in a convertible secured instrument and a possible $20 million contingency fund if McIlvenna Bay hits certain copper production targets - to help develop McIlvenna Bay.

Between initial and sustaining capital costs, the total price tag to start a mine for McIlvenna Bay has been put by Foran at just shy of $850 million. The company has said in the past that it plans for McIlvenna Bay to be carbon neutral from its first day of production, if it goes ahead. Foran reached a deal in May with Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings to pump $100 million into the company,

The pension plan is one of the world’s largest institutional investment groups, sponsored in part by the Ontario government and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. It covers the pensions of about 180,000 school staff in Ontario and has over $220 billion in total assets. The fund owns stakes in a stunningly wide range of investments, including international airports, food companies, real estate, lotteries and others - for almost a decade, the fund also owned the majority share interest in the group that owned the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and other GTA-area sports franchises.