01/02/2005 - 21:00

Abra after $9m lead float

01/02/2005 - 21:00

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A company boasting an all-star board is hoping to list on the Australian Stock Exchange to raise $9 million to cash in on a soaring lead market.

Abra after $9m lead float

A company boasting an all-star board is hoping to list on the Australian Stock Exchange to raise $9 million to cash in on a soaring lead market.

Abra Mining, which is to be chaired by Robert Anderson QC – a former Western Australian Supreme Court Judge with a penchant for prospecting – hopes to raise up to $9 million from an initial public offering.

Besides Mr Anderson, former WA Geological survey head David Blight has been hired as managing director and former Challenge Bank chief financial officer Harvey Collins and former Rio Tinto Australia managing director Dr Ian Gould complete the board.

The company is also linked to mining publisher Aspermont, sharing offices with the company along with company secretary, Russell Hardwick.

Dr Blight said the Abra project, which he anticipated to be producing lead sulphide concentrate in five years, would be operating in time to meet soaring demand for lead which is expected to remain strong until at least 2008.

“There are very few stand alone lead mines and that means the future is about anything new that can come on board,” he said. “I could show graphs that would just blow your mind as to what is coming.”

Dr Blight said the lead price had doubled from $US450 to $US950 a tonne in the past 18 months, a growth primarily driven by Asian demand for use in lead acid automobile and industrial batteries.

Hitting the ASX’s proposed floats section earlier this month, the Abra prospectus is understood to have already generated significant investor interest. Targeting the reportedly “world class” lead/base metal Abra deposit 220 kilometres north of Meekatharra,

Abra Mining is offering 36 million 25 cent shares to raise between $6 million and $9 million.  That equates to 55 per cent of the 66 million shares the miner will have on offer.

The remaining 30 million shares have been allocated to seed capitalists, directors and the vendors.

Those vendors are well known local mining industry players Eamon Cornelius, the son of veteran WA mining player Ian Cornelius; geologist John Clema; and tenement adviser Ken Street, who  acquired the property through conventional application following its relinquishment by North Ltd.

The three, in association with two private companies Oldcity Nominees and Portbeam Holdings, will vend the tenements and associated geological data into Abra in return for 23 million 6.25 cent shares, 11 million options and $350,000 cash.

The Abra deposit had been held by a number of international mining companies, most recently North Ltd. Limited drilling has revealed significant mineralisation.

Montagu Stockbrockers, which is sponsoring the issue in return for one million shares and a fee, said it was “extremely surprising” that the world class deposit had “slipped through the cracks” of previous owners.

Non ASX-compliant estimates suggested the Abra deposit contained about four million tonnes of lead which, based on a lead price of $1,200 a tonne, gave the deposit an “in-ground” value of $3.8 billion, Montague said.

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