19 June 2017
The information contained within this announcement is deemed to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (“MAR”) (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
For the purposes of MAR and Article 2 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1055, this announcement is being made on behalf of Kurt Budge, Chief Executive Officer.
Beowulf (AIM: BEM; Aktietorget: BEO), the mineral exploration and development company, focused on the Kallak magnetite iron ore project and the Åtvidaberg polymetallic exploration licence in Sweden, and its graphite portfolio in Finland, provides an update on the Kallak North Exploitation Concession application process.
On 16 June 2017, the County Administrative Board (“CAB”) for the County of Norrbotten responded to the Mining Inspectorate. In its response, the CAB has suggested more information needs to be provided, to further assess the potential impact of a mining operation at Kallak on Laponia, it has not said what information needs to be provided. The CAB has made no request to the Company at any time to provide further information, nor has it provided feedback on the Company’s submission to the CAB in December 2016 and the Company’s Heritage Impact Assessment (“HIA”) prepared in April 2017 and submitted to the Mining Inspectorate.
The Company’s submission in December 2016 analysed the formal statements made since October 2014, by different parties involved in the application process. The objective of the analysis was to demonstrate that the Company's application has satisfied all the requirements of Swedish law, and that the work done by the Company, and the reviews by the CAB, to date, are in alignment with the Supreme Administrative Court judgement in the Norra Kärr case.
On 27 March 2017, the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet, “RAÄ”) and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket, “NV”) provided comments to the Mining Inspectorate, acknowledging that Kallak does not directly affect Laponia. While the Mining Inspectorate asked RAÄ and NV to be specific in where the Company’s Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) might be insufficient in detail, the agencies merely suggested that the Company should provide more details, to describe the possible indirect effects of a mining operation at Kallak on Laponia, the interaction of mining and reindeer herding, and matters related to transport.
On 28 April 2017, the Company submitted a HIA to the Mining Inspectorate in response to the comments made by RAÄ and NV. The analysis followed United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (“UNESCO”) guidelines for conducting a HIA. Typically, a HIA is not required with an application for an Exploitation Concession, but the Company voluntarily produced one, with the support of its expert Swedish technical team and Swedish Advisory Board.
It is understood that RAÄ and NV have refused to provide further comments to the CAB on the application, despite the CAB asking for them.
On 1 October 2014, the CAB confirmed that the Company's EIA was sufficient with respect to Chapters 3, 4 and 6 of the Environmental Code and, on 7 July 2015, the CAB wrote to the Government of Sweden indicating that the Company's application could be permissible with respect to Chapters 3 and 4 of the Environmental Code. The CAB’s position must be interpreted as if the CAB has no objections to the granting of an Exploitation Concession.
Kurt Budge, CEO, commented:
“The opportunity cost, time and resources, expended on this application process, have not only been borne by the Company, but also by the community in Jokkmokk. The continual delays and inefficiency of the application process are unacceptable. Eight months has been lost since the CAB received the Mining Inspectorate’s questions, and it has failed to provide any answers or an opinion.
“In July 2015, the CAB wrote to the Government of Sweden indicating that the Company's application could be permissible with respect to Chapters 3 and 4 of the Environmental Code.
“The Company has been proactive in providing further analysis to the CAB in December 2016 and a HIA in April 2017. The CAB has not provided feedback on either document. Since I have been involved in this process, the CAB has not requested any information, at any time, from the Company.
“Laponia has been in existence since 1996. The guidelines for the establishment of its boundary state that the protected area should typically be so largely defined, that exploitations outside the area should not be able to have a significant influence on the core value of the world heritage status (Regeringens skrivelse 2001/02:171, Unescos världsarvskonvention och de svenska världsarvsobjekten).
“Kallak is one thousandth of the size of Laponia, an area of 13.6 km2 compared to Laponia’s 940,000 km2. Kallak is approximately 34 kilometres from eastern Laponia at the closest point, and further away as Laponia extends to the north and west.
“With regards to transport, the Company has stated that solutions will be optimised during, and sensibly controlled by the environmental permitting process, such that there should be no significant effect on Laponia, and planning will involve other parties, including Trafikverket and Inlandsbanan. Inlandsbanan has its own ambitious growth plans and would welcome Beowulf as a customer, as would the Port of Luleå.
“The Company has listened, and responded, to concerns raised throughout the application process. This has been demonstrated by the submission to the CAB in April 2013 of extensive supplementary EIA studies, and, in November 2014, the Company eliminating the Jelka-Rimakåbbå transport route from its plans, responding to the CAB's concerns about the interaction of mining and reindeer herding.
“I was in Jokkmokk and Luleå again last week, meeting senior politicians, hearing of their support for the project, recognition of its potential positive impact on Jokkmokk, Luleå and Norrbotten, and acknowledging the failings in the application process.
“The Mining Inspectorate has been given a mandate by the Government of Sweden to make a decision on our application. Our application has met all the requirements of the prescribed process and we should be awarded the Concession without further delay.
“We will provide further updates to shareholders in due course.”
|Beowulf Mining plc
|Kurt Budge, Chief Executive Officer
||Tel: +44 (0) 20 3771 6993
|Cantor Fitzgerald Europe(Nominated Advisor & Broker)
|David Porter / Craig Francis
||Tel: +44 (0) 20 7894 7000
|Tim Blythe / Megan Ray
||Tel: +44 (0) 20 7138 3204
Statements and assumptions made in this document with respect to the Company’s current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs, and other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Beowulf. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those using words such as "may", "might", "seeks", "expects", "anticipates", "estimates", "believes", "projects", "plans", strategy", "forecast" and similar expressions. These statements reflect management's expectations and assumptions in light of currently available information. They are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, (i) changes in the economic, regulatory and political environments in the countries where Beowulf operates; (ii) changes relating to the geological information available in respect of the various projects undertaken; (iii) Beowulf’s continued ability to secure enough financing to carry on its operations as a going concern; (iv) the success of its potential joint ventures and alliances, if any; (v) metal prices, particularly as regards iron ore. In the light of the many risks and uncertainties surrounding any mineral project at an early stage of its development, the actual results could differ materially from those presented and forecast in this document. Beowulf assumes no unconditional obligation to immediately update any such statements and/or forecasts.