Return of Atlas Iron Limited as the mid-tier Australian iron ore miner successfully staves-off death through a capital raising and restructure.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Atlas Iron has concluded a deal with contractor BGC Contracting that will give the iron ore junior the ability to return full production at its Pilbara mines at a breakeven price of $US50 a tonne.
The agreement with BGC is the latest in a string of deals the troubled miner has inked with its contractors in order to lower costs and remain profitable in the face of depressed iron ore prices.
It is understood the cost savings will be found predominantly through lower rates from BGC Contracting and haulage contractor McAleese Group.
Atlas said it expects to have a breakeven price of around $US50 a tonne – compared to Tuesday's iron ore price of $US61.50 – and down from a breakeven price of around $US60 a tonne when it announced the suspension of operations in April.
Under the collaboration agreement, which was pivotal in returning the miner to production, contractors McAleese, MACA and Qube will receive a 50¢ boost to heavily discounted rates for every dollar the iron ore price rises between $US58 and $US70 a tonne, as well as 25 per cent of any net operating cash flow generated.
Atlas is hoping to raise as much as $150 million through a placement and an offer to shareholders, as well as issuing as much as $30 million worth of shares to the contractors signed on to the collaboration agreement. Shareholders will vote on the raising in June.
On Tuesday, Moody's Investors Service confirmed Atlas' Caa3 ratings with a stable outlook, "reflecting the savings the company has been able to achieve under the new collaborative agreement with the contractors".
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