Good news around Savannah IPO

USING current positive sentiment toward parent company Tantalum Australia NL as a backdrop, and after months of waiting in the wings watching other resource companies come and go through the initial public offer phase, Savannah Gold NL has launched a prospectus seeking to raise $2.6 million for its exploration program.

The Perth-based group is headed by former AMX resources Ltd exploration manager Harjinder Kehal as managing director and Kagara Zinc Ltd’s Kim Robinson as chairman.

A gold offshoot of Tantalum Australia NL, formerly known as Australasian Gold Mines NL, the company has existing gold resources of over 100,000 ounces at Norseman and Meekatharra in WA and Clermont in Queensland. The company is hoping to float early next month.

As it moves to shake off its gold assets, Tantalum Australia released good news of its own, announcing that it had signed its first tantalum concentrate sales contract with a Japanese customer.

The deal, worth an estimated $600,000 per annum, will push the company towards its medium-term goal of a four-fold increase in production of tantalum pentoxide.

The company currently produces around 100,000 pounds of the product annually, mainly from the WA Dalgaranga deposit.

Tantalum Australia managing director Michael Fotios described the deal as an important breakthrough, though negotiations for supply were still on-going with potential buyers in the United States, Europe, Russia and China.

Earlier in the week the company announced that its research partner, Boston University, had successfully produced tantalum metal from tantalum oxide with new technology using the solid-ion-oxygen membrane process.

The company has spent approximately $400,000 to reach the first stage in the R&D program on its way to becoming a fully vertically integrated tantalum business.

Investors’ initial reaction to the news was positive, with the stock jumping 20 per cent from seven cents to nine cents a share on heavy trading. But it appears more will have to come from the company before it regains its most recent peak of 19 cents, in July last year. The formal presentation of the new downstream processing technology by Boston on October 14 may provide the answer.

Jubilee looks further

JUBILEE Mines NL is looking beyond its Cosmos Nickel Mine near Leonora, entering a joint venture with the Randles Find Syndicate to undertake exploration and mining on the Randles Find nickel sulphide project. Under the agreement, Jubilee will earn a 70 per cent interest in the nickel and base metal rights. Jubilee has paid an initial $100,000 as well as committing to a minimum exploration expenditure of $400,000 within the next six months in addition to another $250,000 if Jubilee decides after six months to go ahead with the joint venture.

Haddington rewards investors

HADDINGTON International Resources Limited has issued its maiden annual net profit after tax of $730,000 for the 2001-02 financial year, on sales of $7.5 million. The result rewarded investors with earnings before interest, taxation, deprecation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately $1.6 million, or 4.4 cents per share. Investors will be receiving a one-cent dividend in December.

The company, which listed in January 2001, started production at Bald Hill in July last year. During the period the company sold 115,000 pounds of tantalite and worked through 183,000 tonnes of treated ore.

Haddington has an off-take agreement with Sons of Gwalia Limited for the operation of the Bald Hill Tantalum deposit, located near Widgiemooltha, 120 kilometres south-east of Kalgoorlie.

Under the licence agreement, Haddington mines the deposit, producing tantalite concentrates, which it sells to Sons of Gwalia.

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