(EnergyAsia, April 11 2012, Wednesday) — Australia’s Universal Coal Plc said it has secured A$12 million from Susquehanna Pacific Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of financier Susquehanna International Group LLP, to fund its general working capital and core programmes in South Africa. (US$1=A$0.96).

The company said it will begin drawing down A$7 million from next month to help pay for the second phase of drilling at its Berenice-Cygnus coking coal asset.

Since raising A$20.4 million through its listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in December 2010, Universal Coal said it has invested heavily to advance exploration projects in both thermal and coking coal in South Africa. It has successfully completed drill programmes to prove-up more than 600 million tonnes of measured and indicated coal reserves.

The company has also prepared its Kangala thermal project in the Witbank Coal field for development in 2012, and lodged mining rights on its other thermal assets Roodekop and Brakfontein.

Tony Harwood, Universal’s Head of Commercial & Corporate Affairs, said:

“Universal is delighted to have Susquehanna on board with us. We believe the structure of the A$12m converting bond funding negotiated is in the interest of our shareholders. For an emerging developer of coal assets and near term producer, Universal believes this facility is a new and innovative concept and is not typical of the terms junior companies are usually able to achieve in challenging equity capital markets.

“Our Kangala thermal mine planning is well advanced and we expect to commence development late 2012 ahead of first coal production targeted for late 2013. Universal is also in advanced stages of funding discussions for Kangala’s overall capital requirements, and is specifically reviewing alternative sources of finance which also provide minimal or no dilution to shareholders where possible.”