Feb. 23 -- The tin price boom has resulted in a marked increase in activity by Australian junior mining companies, who are taking the opportunity to raise capital, boost exploration and development activity or dispose of assets. Two examples of this recently are Monto Minerals’ planned acquisition of tin and copper-tin properties in North Queensland and a proposed sale of assets at the old Ardlethan mine in New South Wales by Australian Tin Resources (ATR).
Monto Minerals Ltd has raised A$3.5 million via a placement of 235 million shares at 1.5c each to investors, subject to the settlement of the acquisition of the Herberton tin exploration project and Baal Gammon copper project in Queensland from Conquest Mining Ltd. The company is also seeking $1.7 million via a rights issue to existing shareholders. Combined, the placement and rights issue will raise up to $5.2 million to add to Monto’s existing cash position of $1.5 million. The assets are close to Consolidated Tin Mines’ Mount Garnet project in an area which has historically produced over 75,000 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate. They include the advanced Baal Gammon open pit copper tin project with a JORC compliant total resource of 5.5 million tonnes grading 0.8% Cu and 0.2% Sn. On completion of the transactions Monto plans “an aggressive exploration and development programme”.
In New South Wales ATR is inviting proposals to acquire tailings and waste materials at the Ardlethan mine, which ceased operations in 1985. The assets comprise: approximately 9.0 million tonnes of tailings (estimated 0.19% Sn), totalling around 17,000 tonnes of tin in place; 27.2 million tonnes of overburden processed waste material (estimated 0.11% Sn) from previous mining activities at the mine, with more than 29,000 tonnes of tin in place; and high grade, near surface tin potential. The deep underground resources of the mine are currently held separately by Cluff Resources Limited and are estimated to contain some 13,000 tonnes of tin. In recent years surface mining at the site was carried out by Marlborough Resources in 2001-2004, producing some 2,300 tonnes of tin-in-concentrate before the company went into administration.