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Liddell, Forrest up their stakes

TWO of Western Australia’s better known directors, Keith Liddell and Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, have dramatically boosted their stakes in two companies they are associated with.

Mr Liddell upped his stake in New South Wales-based diamond explorer County Diamonds by $1,354,300 – taking up an additional 4.6 million shares.

Mr Forrest increased his holding in Fortescue Metals Group by $1.2 million – adding an extra 15 million shares to his 20 million share holding.

In Mr Liddell’s case, the 4.6 million shares are due to his representing Mineral Securities, the resources venture capital player 35 per cent owned by Australian Heritage Group, on the County Diamonds board.

He is Mineral Securities’ executive chairman.

The share placement is part of a deal Mineral Securities has with County Diamonds relating to the Gold Mount project in China.

Under the deal, Mineral Securities received 8.5 million CYD shares following shareholder approval and satisfaction of the agreement conditions. A further 26 million shares will come its way on the confirmation of a two million-ounce gold mineral resource.

County Diamonds is also putting a suggested change of name to shareholders at its annual general meeting to reflect its changing business from diamond exploration to gold.

It wants to change its name to Tianshan Goldfields Limited.

Minerals Securities company secretary Mark Bolton said Mineral Securities’ move into County Diamonds was a “classic backdoor listing”.

“What’s interesting about this particular deal is that there is a large amount of deferred consideration,” he said.

“Our current ownership interest is about 17 per cent comprising the 8.5 million shares and there’s another 26 million shares if we reach the two million-ounce target.”

In the Fortescue case, Mr Forrest’s 15-million share placement is due to the exercise of 15 million options at 8 cents each.

Fortescue has received promising news on its 50 per cent owned Mindy Mindy Iron Ore Joint Venture Project.

Joint venture partner Consolidated Minerals announced completion of the first stage of exploration drilling, which confirmed the presence of a potentially significant channel iron deposit on its tenements.

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