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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Australia’s Equinox Minerals Ltd. said on Friday it had signed a $80 million loan facility with Standard Chartered Bank Plc and Standard Bank to complete its Lumwana copper mine in Zambia.

The new loan facility is structured on similar terms to the commercial tranche of $583.8 million announced in 2006, the company said in a statement.

Equinox Minerals said the funds would enable it to meet the additional working capital requirements that resulted from a delayed start-up caused by a fire.

Equinox Minerals said in July that an electrical fire at Lumwana had damaged a major electric power transformer and an adjacent power substation, delaying the start of copper concentrate production.

Work is on schedule for the December 2008 commissioning of the mine and peak production of copper at 165,000 tonnes per year is expected by 2010, the company said.

Equinox Minerals said its insurers had accepted indemnity for the fire damage and it was taking inventory of the losses.