Norton Rose, Bakers start on Finnish mining contract

Norton Rose banking partner Martin McCann is acting for Talvivaara project company Talvivaara Sotkamo on the deal, which will see Belgian metal ­producer Nyrstar acquire 1.25 million tonnes of zinc over the next 10-15 years.

Project finance partner Calvin Walker is leading the Bakers team advising Nyrstar in the first deal he has led on in its entirety since he joined the firm from Allen & Overy last year.

Unlike with classic ­refinancing transactions, the agreement will mean the existing commercial debt tranche is effectively taken out of the equation, with Nyrstar buying up the debt in exchange for the zinc offtake.

The existing bank loan was arranged by Société Générale, which turned to Mayer Brown structured finance partner Rachel Speight for advice.

Streaming deals are expected to be an increasingly popular way for ­project companies to ­refinance their debts as they reach maturity.

“While the debt market remains tight, this is proof that there are options in the market,” said McCann. “This is one of a group of refinancings of similar projects.”

At least five other ­project-financed mining deals, valued in excess of $300m, are expected to be refinanced using this method in the coming months.