In March 2018, the Company announced that it has received an investment from the Government of Quebec by way of private placement of $1,407,000 into the common shares of Arianne. Under the terms of the offering, the Company issued 2,333,333 units at a price of $0.63 per unit. Each unit is comprised of one common share and one half of one common share purchase warrant. Each warrant entitles its holder to purchase one common share at a price of $0.85 per share until March 14, 2021.
In March 2018, the Company announced, the start of research and development work to integrate aluminum in the design of the trailer that will transport the phosphate concentrate from the Lac à Paul mine to the deep-water port that will be located in Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. The work will be done by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Alcoa Innovation. In order to carry out this major work, Arianne will be able to rely on confirmed financial support from the Centre québécois de recherche et de développement de l’aluminium (CQRDA) and the Société de la vallée de l’aluminium.
In April 2018, the Company announced that it received a grant of $1.5 million from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Quebec. This funding has been provided as part of the Government’s plan to help advance the Quebec phosphate (apatite) sector. Arianne will be using this funding in support of its previously announced program to produce additional high-purity phosphate concentrate to fulfil demand from potential customers and, to conduct further pilot-scale tests. The tests will be conducted at COREM (Research Consortium for the Treatment and Processing of Mineral Substances) in Quebec City, where the Company conducted its previous pilot-scale tests, and, materials will be sent to parties that have expressed a strong interest in pursuing some form of offtake and/or a strategic partnership with Arianne.
In August 2018, the Company announced it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) for the supply of sulphuric acid. Aside from phosphate rock, a phosphoric acid plant would also require a supply of sulphuric acid that could be consistently delivered in timely fashion. It is on this basis that Arianne has entered into an MoU with a large marketer of sulphuric acid. This agreement will allow the Company to work with a strong industry player that can provide the venture ongoing guidance on sulfuric acid pricing, logistics and industry supply/demand trends; all necessary aspects in determining the project’s viability.
In August 2018, the Company announced that it has partnered with the Province of New Brunswick to further its review of constructing a phosphoric acid plant in Belledune, New Brunswick. As part of this agreement, the Government, through Opportunities New Brunswick (“ONB”), will provide a financial contribution toward the cost of a prefeasibility study, the next step in Arianne’s assessment of its downstream opportunity.
In September 2018, the Company announced the formal execution of its first offtake agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, the buyer has entered into a long-term contract to purchase Arianne’s high-purity phosphate concentrate which, will be shipped to the buyer’s processing plant for further processing into downstream phosphate products. The offtake agreement also has a mechanism whereby it can be extended beyond the initial contract period and applies pricing that accounts for the high quality of Arianne’s concentrate.
In October 2018, the Company announced that the Port of Saguenay received a favorable decision with regards to the construction of a maritime terminal facility on the north shore of the Saguenay River. Granted by the Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Catherine McKenna, this decision now paves the way forward for the construction of a terminal that will allow for the shipping of Arianne’s phosphate concentrate to customers around the world. In light of this announcement, the Company determined that the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the Lac à Paul property had been established and, accordingly, the Company reclassified capitalized costs associated with the Lac à Paul property from exploration and evaluation assets and mining properties to mineral property under development within property, plant and equipment.
In December 2018, the Company extended its secured credit facility with Mercury which will now have a maturity of June 30, 2020. These credit facilities will continue to bear interest at an annual rate of 15%, with all interest capitalized through maturity. The Company has also issued Mercury 22,417,458 non-transferable warrants with an exercise price of $0.425 per share. The warrants are exercisable through June 30, 2020. As required under the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange, 17,338,739 non-transferable warrants originally issued to Mercury have been cancelled as a result of the new extension.
Arianne has also closed on an unsecured loan in the aggregate amount of $1.5 million with third party lenders. This loan will bear interest at a rate of 12% per annum and mature on December 19, 2019. In conjunction with the loan, Arianne issued the lenders 2,117,646 non-transferable warrants at an exercise price of $0.425 per share, exercisable until December 19, 2019.
In December 2018, Arianne announced its second formal offtake agreement for the purchase and marketing of its high-purity phosphate concentrate. Under the terms of the agreement, the buyer has a commitment to purchase a specific annual quantity of phosphate concentrate and, has been granted an option to purchase additional amounts under certain terms and conditions.