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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Riversgold to use IPO proceeds in its search for Mondulkiri gold

A man holds a bag of smelted gold nuggets at a mining site in Preah Vihear province last year.
A man holds a bag of smelted gold nuggets at a mining site in Preah Vihear province last year. Heng Chivoan

Riversgold to use IPO proceeds in its search for Mondulkiri gold

Riversgold, an Australian gold exploration startup, will use the proceeds of its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) to acquire and develop mineral exploration projects in Australia, the US and Cambodia, according to a company prospectus.

The new mining company is looking to raise up to $6.3 million in its IPO later this month and list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) by the end of the year. The company has assembled an experienced management team headed by former Doray Minerals boss Allan Kelly, and is backed by Evolution Mining Ltd, Australia’s second-largest gold-mining firm, which has committed $2 million to the IPO.

Since incorporation in February, Riversgold has acquired Afranex and its gold project in Alaska, and entered into agreements with two Australian firms to acquire majority interests in their exploration projects in southern and eastern Australia. It has also concluded an agreement with Cambodia Gold Pty to purchase the company and its mineral-exploration licence applications.

“Riversgold has an existing portfolio of early stage projects in world-class gold terrains and through exploration and acquisition we intend to build a portfolio of high-quality gold assets,” Australian media quoted Kelly as saying. “Our intention is to continue to refresh our portfolio and monetise projects at the appropriate time in the project life cycle through partial/full sale and/or joint ventures to maximise shareholder returns.”

According to its prospectus, Riversgold will acquire the entire shareholding of Cambodia Gold upon listing. The little-known mining company was incorporated in Australia in July 2016 and registered a branch office in Cambodia earlier this year.

Reached by phone yesterday, Cambodia Gold Director John Hilton confirmed that the company has applied to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) for two mineral exploration licences formerly held by Brighton Minerals, an Australian mining firm that entered voluntary administration in 2015 after being declared insolvent.

One licence covers three areas in Mondulkiri province – Kang Roland North, Antrong and Rapoah – with a combined total of 216 square kilometres. The licence was previously held by Brighton subsidiary Sun Hills Minerals. The other licence covers nearby Kang Roland South, a 137-square-kilometre tenement formerly held by Brighton subsidiary Summer Gold.

Preliminary exploration and test drilling on the tenements provided positive indicators of gold mineralisation, but much of the optimism surrounding the properties is due to their location. The tenements lie adjacent to Renaissance Mineral’s Okvau project, a 1.14-million-ounce gold deposit, and appear to have similar geological characteristics.

“Mineralisation that is the target of exploration on these concessions is likely to be similar to that found in the nearby Okvau deposit,” the prospectus said.

Renaissance Minerals, which ASX-listed Emerald Resources NL absorbed last year in a $96 million merger, holds a 10 percent stake in Riversgold.

Hilton, who is also a founder of Riversgold, said if Cambodia Gold is successful in its application for the former Brighton licences it could create synergies with Emerald’s existing operations.

“If we were able to find something it would be very attractive to Emerald and help with the development of their mine, and also provide more feed for their mill.”

MME spokesman Yos Monyrath confirmed the ministry has received applications for exploration licences from Cambodia Gold, though said a decision has not yet been made on whether it will reissue the mining licences that it revoked from Brighton subsidiaries Sun Hill and Summer Gold.

“Once we decide what to do with the licences, for instance to open them to bidders seeking exploration rights in the area, we will announce it,” he said. “Then any company, including Cambodia Gold, can submit an application to receive the licenses on a first-come-first-serve evaluation basis.”

Additional reporting by Hor Kimsay

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