Race to resources

THE jump in gold prices has led to a rush from investors into almost anything dipping its toes into the resource sector.

Jackson Gold Limited and Apex Minerals NL have been the latest to hit the boards, with Image Resources NL and Olympia Resources NL hoping to follow over the next few weeks.

And, in the past week, Metals Quest Australia Limited and Universal Resources Limited have sought equity for an initial public offering.

Metals Quest Australia Limited was formed in July last year with the sole purpose of compiling a portfolio of Western Australian nickel, gold and base metal projects for a listing of the company on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Backed by directors Peter Gregory, Bernard McAuliffe, Jayson Meyers and Grant Mooney, the answer for Metals Quest came in the form of five sparsely separated project areas.

The company is placing most of its bets behind the Silver Swan Ultramafic project, which saddles Outokumpu Mining Australia Pty Ltd’s Silver Swan Nickel Mine, 45 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie.

Around $1.6 million of the $3.5 million the directors hope to raise through the issue of 17.5 million 20 cent shares will be channelled into finding nickel sulphide ore bodies at Silver Swan over the first two years from listing. A further $310,000 will be directed toward the Ashburton gold project that adjoins the northern and southern boundaries of the 620,000-ounce Paulsens Deposit owned by St Barbara Mines Limited in the Pilbara.

What is left over after the allocation of exploration finance to these two projects will be ploughed into three other projects – the Kimberley Bisclay project, Two Dees project and the Kambalda-St Ives project.

In total, about $2.4 million will be spent over the next two years, with the remainder allocated toward capital raising expenses and working capital allocations.

Another WA-based company, Universal Resources Limited, formed in 1999 to acquire, explore and develop mineral resources, is also coming to the market armed with copper-gold and zinc-lead-silver deposits in the Cloncurry district in Queensland and the Lachlan Fold Belt in new South Wales.

Company directors, Maurice Hoyle, Campbell Ansell, Kenneth Foots, James Walls and chairman Peter Ingram are seeking to raise $4 million through the float of 35 per cent of the company by issuing 20 million 20 cent shares. Applications open on June 15.

Falconer Bellomo & Company Limited is partially underwriting the float to the extent of $3 million.

The company is allocating exploration of more than $2 million and $550,000 is allocated for completing the acquisition of the Roseby Copper Project, while initial public offer costs are expected to be more than $400,000.

DJ Carmichael analyst Peter Strachan said while the number of new floats had been on the increase, there were still some good quality of the projects.

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