04/11/2003 - 21:00

Harmanis keen to stay at Jubilee

04/11/2003 - 21:00

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HE has been a backpacker, a lawyer, a prospector, a fish salesman, a company director but most of all he is known for his sovereign-like reign at the helm of one of WA’s largest and most successful independent nickel companies – Jubilee Mines.

Harmanis keen to stay at Jubilee

HE has been a backpacker, a lawyer, a prospector, a fish salesman, a company director but most of all he is known for his sovereign-like reign at the helm of one of WA’s largest and most successful independent nickel companies – Jubilee Mines.

Kerry Harmanis, worth a paper fortune with his share holding in Jubilee, was born into the mining game in 1948.

His father was a talented prospector and also a mine owner.

A self-described man of “eclectic” talents, Mr Harmanis, after a short foray into the legal world until 1980, grew restless as a lawyer and began exploring a series of tailings dumps for gold with a group of associates near Laverton and Kalgoorlie Boulder.

At the same time he built up his own portfolio of tenements and was acting as a part-time lawyer for prospectors.

Although he says he is a lot more relaxed these days, sipping on green tea and regularly exercising, surfing or meditating, he grew a reputation for being a volatile and feisty player.

Having just been married in 1986 and with WA’s tax laws becoming too constrictive, Mr Harmanis, turned his aspirations overseas, leaving with fellow Western Australian Leith Reynolds.

Together they set up in Vancouver looking to do mining deals.

After a failed attempt to resurrect mining prosects in Butte, Montana – historically one of the most famous gold mining regions of North America – which ended with Mr Harmanis and others in the British courts successfully suing two British financiers, he returned to Perth to take on Jubilee Mines full-time.

Jubilee soon changed tack from gold and began exploring for nickel.

Then, in 1997 it struck pay dirt, finding the famed high grade Cosmos Nickel sulphide deposit – and later Cosmos Deeps – near Leinster.  

After successfully developing and producing Cosmos and making the transition underground with Cosmos Deep’s, Mr Harmanis with his 18.1 per cent stake in the company, says that although he could not leave the company he would not want to anyway.

“I still have a few things I want to do but the company is still not quite ripe yet,” he said. 

Mr Harmanis said there would be some aggressive spikes in nickel price, however, as Cosmos Deeps only has limited mine life so far, exploration is high on the company’s agenda.

Cosmos Deeps, Cosmos South and a joint venture near Kalgoorlie being drilled now along with a joint venture in the East Kimberley comprises a majority of Jubliee’s exploration plans.

“I don’t know where I will be in the next few years. All I know is I have to take the company through its next few levels of growth,” Mr Harmanis said.

Jubilee exceeded its earlier planned $200 million market capitalisation by an extra $200 million this year and is now working to sustain and improve that position.

“I don’t have all the answers but nickel is the most volatile and tightly balanced market of all of metals,” Mr Harmanis said.

“If you look at it on an MVP type value probably you would say [we are over valued, yes, but if you look at it as a return to share holders – out of all the companies out there at least we are backed by very, very solid fundamentals.”

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