MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Manila's Atlas Mining Eyes Overseas Share Offer

Published by MAC on 2007-07-18
Source: Reuters

Manila's Atlas Mining eyes overseas share offer

18th July 2007

Reuters -

MANILA - The Philippines' Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. said on Wednesday it was planning to list its shares overseas to raise at least $100 million to fund copper and nickel projects.

The Philippines' second largest mining firm, whose market value of $312.9 million translates to just 3 percent of the value of BHP Billiton ,said it was looking at the London Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Australian Stock Exchange for possible listings.

"We want to broaden the appeal of the company by widening our audience," Martin Buckingham, chief finance officer, told reporters, without giving a timetable.

He said part of the proceeds from the possible overseas listing would be used to expand copper production at its Carmen Copper Corp subsidiary.

Carmen Copper, whose Toledo copper mine in Cebu province in central Philippines was once the world's third largest copper producer, is ready to start full rehabilitation work at the mine, which was closed in 1994 after it was flooded by a typhoon.

The mine, with deposits of 874 million metric tonnes with an average grade of 0.41 percent copper, is expected to produce copper concentrates by the second quarter of 2008.

"We expect an initial production of 20,000 tonnes per day but ultimately we want to see 42,000 tonnes per day," Atlas chairman Alfredo Ramos told reporters.
Annual output from the mine is expected to average 47,000 tonnes of copper, 41,000 ounces of gold plus pyrite and iron ore magnetite concentrates.

Ramos said Carmen Copper's mine rehabilitation work would require about $150 million to $200 million.

Atlas has raised $100 million from a debt instrument with Deutsche Bank AG and $40 million from the Crescent Asian Special Opportunities Portfolio Fund.

Another Atlas subsidiary, Berong Nickel Corp., will raise $200 million to $300 million via either bank loans or a public listing to build a processing plant at its nickel mine in Palawan island, southwest of Manila.

Berong's three nickel mines in Palawan, one of the largest nickel laterite deposits in the world, are estimated to hold 275 million dry metric tonnes (DMT) with an average grade of 1.3 percent nickel.

Berong Nickel just completed its eighth shipment of nickel ore to China and expects direct shipments of ore to reach a total of 1 million DMT this year valued at between $15 million and $25 million.

The company expects nickel ore shipments to grow further to 9 million DMT in the next two to three years.

London-listed Toledo Mining has a 56.1 percent stake in Berong, and Australia's Investika Ltd. has 18.8 percent.


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