Lustre attracts investors

INVESTORS inclined towards minerals exploration ventures and favouring new companies coming out of Western Australia are facing a dilemma.

Five of eight new Australian Stock Exchange listings scheduled for next month are from WA and 80 per cent of these are promoting exploration assets.

Perhaps reflecting overall economic optimism, all companies are reporting strong investor interest in their quest to raise a combined $19.8 million.

Since last October, when Central Queensland Resources picked up most of its prospects south west of Townsville, chairman Don Boyer and man-aging director Rhod Grivas have been keen to be among the first this year with a new minerals exploration company on the board.

Mr Grivas said Central Queensland had expected a good deal of interest from WA and Queensland, with local well-known industry identities and good gold territory respectively, but had also pulled 100 investor calls from three press articles in Victoria and South Australia.

With no large corporate backing, Galaxy Resources says its investor mix will come from smaller lay investors and mining industry professionals.

Galaxy general manager Bill Witham said while last year was a difficult year for floats – even those backed by respected corporate names – the climate had now changed. Galaxy’s founders had been gathering a portfolio of tantalite and base metals tenements over the past five years, and sustained interest in exploration companies following Minotaur’s market-inspiring find last November had encouraged them to now go public.

Galaxy is expecting to warm further interest with a series of sales, supply agreement and possible joint venture announcements in the first six months after the float.

Heron Resources launched the $6 million prospectus for gold and copper spin-off Avoca Resources this week.

While the initial idea of demerging Heron’s nickel and non-nickel interests came out of opportunities in the rationalisation of the nickel laterite industry in the eastern Gold-fields, renewed backing for small company gold and copper exploration has favoured Avoca’s chances.

Fox Resources, another precious metal spin-off, this one from Acclaim Exploration, is hoping to raise $3.1 million before a mid-April listing.

Safe Effect Technologies, neither an exploration company nor associated with the mining industry, is the odd one out. But the wet brake technology company also differs from the others with established markets and patents for its products.

An ASX spokesperson said the number of exploration floats reflected the current improvement in commodities markets and WA’s contribution of new listings was welcome.

The number of new listings overall remains down on the boom time of 18 months ago and the tech company boom, but had almost returned to a number that might be considered normal.

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