Connemara unable to finalise Stonepark deal

Connemara Mining — the AIM-listed mineral exploration firm chaired by businessman John Teeling — has revealed that it recently received an expression of interest in its minority stakeholding in the highly-rated Stonepark zinc and lead discovery in Co Limerick.

The Irish company said it received the approach earlier this year, but it came to nothing as the company was unable to reach agreement with the interested party.

Connemara holds a 25% stake in Stonepark, with Canadian operator Teck controlling the other 75%.

As the minority partner, Connemara is effectively a portfolio investor and must raise cash to maintain its percentage interest, or see its stake diluted. It is now waiting to agree budgets for 2013 before gauging its financial needs for the next 12 months. “We will then examine the best ways to finance the requirement,” management said.

Mr Teeling said: “In good times, with an active stock market, funds can be raised to meet expenditure commitments. In tough times, with low share prices, raising new money can be costly and very dilutive. The alternatives are either dilution or sale of the project.”

Connemara’s first-half figures, meanwhile, show a loss of €176,000; down from €194,000 for last year. Interim losses per share also fell, year-on- year, from 81c to 69c.

Mr Teeling said the company — also active in Cavan, Meath, Wicklow, Wexford and Tipperary — has reason to be upbeat: “We have good ground and good partners. We’re in sectors with excellent long-term fundamentals.

“When investor sentiment improves towards junior explorers, we will be well-placed to benefit.”

Elsewhere, Irish AIM-listed exploration company, Petroneft saw its shares jump by another 14% yesterday on the back of it reporting a stable production rate of 310 barrels of oil per day (bopd) from the first of 10 wells due to be drilled at its Arbuzovskoye oil field in the Tomsk region of Russia.

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