DABBLING in a number of activities has proved a costly exercise for Perth exploration cum tech cum renewable energy company, Range Resources Limited.The company is going back to basics following a $1.3 million loss in the past financial year.Last week it obtained an option to acquire mineral rights to defunct gold mines near the South West town of Donnybrook.Range Resources managing director Patrick Ryan said the mineral field would provide a new revenue stream for the company, reliant solely on falling sales from its software subsidiary, E-Com Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.“We believe that the gold price is at the bottom of the range and there will be a resource recovery, which we hope to capitalise on,” Mr Ryan said.The 210 square kilometre area comprises old gold mines, including Hunters Venture, Bullington, Perseverance, Blackwood Venture, Duke of Wellington, Ark of Gold, Donnybrook No 1, Star of the West, Commonwealth and Queen of the South.Parts of the tenement is on land owned by the Trigwell family, which owns and runs the Old Goldfields Orchard and Cider Factory.Gold was first discovered at Donnybrook in 1897 and, during its brief and chequered operation, the mineral field produced approximately 1,100 ounces of gold.The last serious take at the tenements was more than 10 years ago when BHP did some exploration work on the site.Under revised terms with the directors of Donnybrook Gold Pty Ltd, Range will pay a fee of $10,000 for the option to acquire all the shares in the company in return for the issuance of 22.5 million shares and 11.25 million options to acquire shares at 20 cents due before June 2003.Range has given the Donnybrook assets a book value of $1.125 million. Post purchase the company will have estimated total assets of $3.6 million.The offer is conditional on shareholder approval with a shareholders meeting expected in mid-January, as well as the granting of an exploration licence.Range also has undertaken to raise up to $500,000 through an underwritten rights issue at five cents, together with a free attaching option to acquire an ordinary share at 20 cents for every two shares exercisable by June 2003. The capital raising will proceed with or without the acquisition of Donnybrook.Australian Securities and Investment Commission records list Blair Sergeant, Wai Lee and Serng Liew as the directors of the company.Range has budgeted $380,000 for exploration work over the next two years.It could prove to be a long wait for the Perth company, which earlier this year received a “please explain” from the Australian Stock Exchange over its cash position.Consolidated revenue dropped almost in half over the past financial year, from $831,000 to $455,000, while costs rose from $510,000 to $1.7 million during the same period.The Donnybrook agreement did little to spark the interest of shareholders, with the shares remaining at around five cents, well down from its high of 35 cents just over 12 months ago, but up from the three cents it fell to early in the year.While Range refocuses on exploration, it will be E-Com that will keep the money flowing until gold is struck.An order with Prudential Assurance in Asia and the supply of handwritten digital signature software to Kellogg Joint Venture, the managing contractor for the procurement of material for Woodside’s Train Four.Mr Ryan is also hoping that an announcement will be made regarding a joint marketing initiative with IBM in Singapore, while two other Asian insurance companies are in the final stage of proof of concept.
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