TORONTO - Inmet Mining Corp. (TSX:IMN) says it has closed a US$1.5-billion debt offering to help fund development at the copper-gold Cobre Panama project.
With the closure of the deal, the Inmet board has granted approval to start construction on the project.
Questions were raised early in 2011 about the future of the Cobre Panama project, when the Toronto miner Lundin Mining Corp. (TSX:LUN) walked away from its planned merger with Inmet.
The project has since received government approval for an environmental and social impact assessment required for the building of a mine, port facility and coal-fired power plant.
However, environmental groups continue to oppose the project, contending it will destroy 5,700 hectares of forest and affect local wildlife, including a large number of protected animal species.
In January, Korea Panama Mining Corp. decided to exercise its option to take a 20 per cent interest in Cobre Panama copper mine, leaving Inmet with an 80 per cent stake in the development-stage project. It will fund 20 per cent of development costs.
Shares in Inmet fell 73 cents or 1.6 per cent to 44.28 in Friday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.