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Red Kite founder Lewnowski spins off $1.14B mining fund

Keywords: Tags  Red Kite, RK Mine Finance Fund, Oskar Lewnowski, Orion Mine Finance Fund, Nevada Copper Corp., Royal Nickel Corp., Mark Burton

LONDON — Oskar Lewnowski, a founding partner of Red Kite Group, has spun off one of the trader and hedge fund’s two mine finance vehicles and resigned from the company.

Following a mutual management decision to separate the mine finance business, Lewnowski and a team of former Red Kite partners will run the $1.14-billion RK Mine Finance Fund II as the Orion Mine Finance Fund I.

The RK Mine Finance Fund I will continue to be managed by David Lilley, Michael Farmer and Harry Tefoglou, while Grant Gilmour and Paul Coughlan will join the fund’s investment committee, a Red Kite spokesman said.

"In reviewing their strategic plans, they concluded that they would be most effective in pursuing their respective visions for each business and further optimizing returns for their investors by dividing the operations," the spokesman said in a statement.

The Orion fund will be managed by Lewnowski and portfolio managers Douglas Silver, Ray Jenner and Peter Rozenauers from offices in New York, Denver and Sydney, Australia.

Former Societe General Energy LLC and RBS Sempra Commodities LLP executive Limor Nissan will join Orion as chief operating officer and general counsel, a spokesman for the fund said in a statement.

Lilley, Farmer and Lewnowski decided to spin off the fund in order to separate the group’s private equity investments from its hedge fund business, the spokesman told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

Among Orion’s $1.14 billion in investments are equity stakes, loans, royalties and offtakes with miners, including Vancouver, British Columbia-based Nevada Copper Corp.; Toronto-based Royal Nickel Corp.; Melbourne, Australia-based Dart Mining NL; Nicosia, Cyprus-based EMED Mining; London-based Frontier Mining Ltd.; and Weatherly International Plc, London.

The new Orion fund concluded a $91-million financing package with Weatherly Sept. 20 to fund the conversion of the 17,000-tonne-per-year Tschudi underground copper mine in Namibia into an open-pit operation.

Weatherly signed a term sheet with Red Kite in December 2012 but the Orion funding package has been amended to give Weatherly a more flexible repayment period in return for a 1-percentage-point increase in the interest rate, the mining junior said.

Founding partner Lewnowski resigned as a member of RK Capital Management Sept. 17, Companies House filings show.

A version of the article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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