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White Rivers mulls JSE listing, looks at more joint ventures

LISTING on the JSE is one of the options that White Rivers Exploration is considering for the future, chairman Neil Warburton said on Tuesday.

Mr Warburton’s comments were underscored by Standard Bank’s global head of metals and mining, Rajat Kohli, at a media presentation on Tuesday.

He said the stock exchange was likely to attract mining companies because some of the limits on investment in Africa by South African institutions had been eased, and because the Cape Town-based institutions were sitting with surplus cash that they were seeking to invest.

South African investors also understood mining better than some other jurisdictions.

Mr Kohli said that all of this meant the JSE was likely to play an increasingly important role in raising equity for African mining projects.

White Rivers Exploration recently entered into a partnership with Kinetiko Energy on coal bed methane projects.

Mr Warburton said this was White Rivers’ first partnership in South Africa. However, he said it was looking at various other joint ventures over its several project areas around the Wits Basin, which have prospectivity in gold, coal, uranium and diamonds.

Some exploration work has been done on these areas by previous owners, and White Rivers is collecting available borehole data, with the assistance of consultants Shango Solutions.

Mr Warburton said this data represented hundreds of millions of dollars of exploration work, which White Rivers was able to access comparatively cheaply.

Mr Warburton, a mining engineer, is the former CEO of an Australian hard-rock mining contractor company, Barminco, and has more than 30 years experience in gold and base-metals mining. He said White Rivers’ major shareholder was an Australian, Mark Creasy, and it also had two black empowerment shareholding entities with 13% each — Native Exploration and Insingizi Minerals.

Mr Creasy, a geologist, is one of Australia’s richest men and most successful mining prospectors. He sold his interest in his first big discovery, the Bronzewing gold mine, for $127m in 1990.

More recently, he discovered a major nickel-copper deposit in Western Australia — now partly owned by Australian Stock Exchange-listed Sirius Resources.

Mr Creasy has kept a stake in the project and also holds shares in Sirius.

Native Exploration is headed by Refilwe Monageng, a mining entrepreneur who was the founding president of Youth in Energy and Mining, an organisation established by the Department of Mineral Resources to encourage young South Africans to enter the mining sector.

Insingizi Minerals is headed by Simangele Mngomezulu, a former CEO of the South African Women in Mining Association.

Mr Monageng says both he and Ms Mngomezulu are not passive investors but are actively involved in White Rivers.

Source: Business Day, BD Live, 29 January 2014