News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Private equity eyes $6bn investment in junior miners; Newcrest denies lobbying government for Mining Act changes; and Tiger's $42m raising promising for juniors.

Lou Caruana

Private equity eyes $6bn investment in junior miners

More than $6 billion of private equity investment is eyeing opportunities in Australia’s junior mining and metals sector and the experts predict that figure will only rise, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Australia’s junior and exploration companies have struggled to attract funding for projects amid declining commodity prices and tighter debt requirements from major lenders.

Speaking at the Mines and Money Conference in Melbourne on Thursday, EMR Capital investment director Richard Crookes said specialised metals and mining private equity groups were looking to fill that funding gap for the right project.

“I think there is an emerging group of new private equity investment coming through and will continue to come through because particularly in the US there are massive pools of capital and they are looking for good managers to back,” he said.

Newcrest denies lobbying government for Mining Act changes

Newcrest Mining has distanced itself from moves by the NSW government to amend the state’s Mining Act in a way that will bury a legal challenge to its giant Cadia Valley gold operations, near Orange, according to the Australian Financial Review.

However, the gold miner supports the proposed changes, which Resources Minister Chris Hartcher says are designed to provide greater certainty around NSW’s mining titles regime.

A bill to amend provisions of the Mining Act 1992 relating to the need for development consent before a mining lease is granted was introduced into the Upper House late on Wednesday.

The changes will effectively kill off a case brought by private explorer Gold and Copper Resources in the NSW Land and Environment Court questioning the validity of two mining leases covering part of the Cadia Valley operations.

Asked if Newcrest had lobbied the government to have new legislation introduced, company spokeswoman Kerrina Watson pointed to the fact that Hartcher was the first respondent to the gold and copper claim.

Tiger's $42m raising promising for juniors

Copper miner Tiger Resources will announce today that it has collected more than $42 million through an equity raising, in another sign that the fundraising freeze that has crippled the junior resources sector is starting to ease, according to The Australian.

Tiger, which operates the Kipoi copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will also launch an $8 million share purchase plan.

The placements were carried out through Cannacord Genuity at 34c a share, a 14 per cent discount to Tiger's last closing price.

The new funding will bolster Tiger's balance sheet while it continues to work on a new plant at Kipoi, which should start producing copper cathode in mid-2014.