Sundance Resources expects to sign up customers by the end of the year as it pins its hopes on producing iron ore in west Africa by 2017.
The Perth-based company believes it has turned the corner after shareholders had their investments halved in April following the collapse of a $1.3 billion takeover deal with China’s Hanlong Mining.
Legal action against the company over a 2010 plane crash in west Africa which killed the company’s entire board of directors has also occupied management, with the latest claim coming from the family of an investment banker seeking more than $10 million over his death.
Sundance directors believe the company is not liable for the deaths as it pushes ahead with its 35 million tonne Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore project which has the support of the local governments of Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chairman George Jones said 95 per cent of the company’s shares had changed hands since the Hanlong deal fell over.
“The damage has already been done,” Mr Jones told the Diggers and Dealers mining conference on Wednesday.
Sundance has been in talks with major banks, Chinese steel mills and contractors over the past two years.
While the Mbalam-Nabeba project still requires financing, Mr Jones said interested parties had labelled the project robust after conducting due diligence.
“All we’ve got to do now is work out the best way to package it,” he said.
He added that a number of legal claims against the company over the 2010 plane crash deaths had not been pursued.
“One confidential report indicates that there’ll be no liability, that there’s no fault of ours,” he said.
Sundance on Wednesday said it had begun issuing tenders for the construction of rail and port infrastructure for the Mbalam-Nabeba project.
The company is in talks with 10 contractors, including six Chinese and four international contractors, about building the massive project, subject to financing.
Managing director Giulio Casello said the project had a proposed debt to equity split of 85 per cent to 15 per cent.
The majority of the debt funding would come from the China import/export banks and the China Development Bank, while the equity would come from investors and the company’s own cash reserves of $20 million.