opes roll call keeps getting longer

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    Opes roll call keeps getting longer

    Kate Hayc/ock -Mining News Story -
    Thursday, 3 April 2008

    THE list of companies affected by the Opes Prime collapse has been confirmed at around 700, with mining industry stocks heavily represented.

    So far, these are the resources stocks MiningNews.net is aware of that have revealed their exposure to the crisis:

    Bannerman Resources
    Blackham Resources
    Catalyst Metals
    Carnavale Resources
    Cazaly Resources
    Conquest Mining
    Fairstar Resources
    Gindalbie Metals
    Global Nickel Investments
    Golden West Resources
    Hodges Resources
    Image Resources
    Jameson Resources
    Ord River Resources
    Platina Resources
    Pluton Resources
    Proto Resources
    Tawana Resources
    Thundelarra Exploration
    The collapse of Opes Prime has meant the ownership of some shares in these companies has effectively passed to ANZ, which is selling off the stocks to recoup some $640 million in secured debt owed to it by Opes Prime.

    Opes’ other major backer, Merrill Lynch, has reportedly already sold off $500 million worth of equities.

    A list released by GoldmanSachs JBWere yesterday also named companies such as Atlas Iron, Albidon, Cudeco, Equinox Minerals, Giralia Resources, Integra Mining and Moly Mines – amongst hundreds of others – whose shares were held by Opes Prime.

    While the numbers of companies and dollars involved are alarming, many of the shares involved in individual companies are relatively small – for instance, Proto Resources announced this morning that 1.3 million of its shares were held by Opes’ liquidators.

    Proto’s chairman, Andrew Mortimer, held the shares in a broking account with Opes Prime, and the company said today Mortimer had personally bought back the shares.

    Only 200,000 of Thundelarra Exploration’s shares were ensnared by the collapse, while this morning Platina Resources said that only around 2% of its shares were held under margin lending facilities managed by Opes.

    These shares were held by third parties not associated with any of the company directors.

    Carnavale Resources has also revealed that 2.8% of its shares are being held by ANZ, but the Brazilian-focused explorer said it could not confirm that these shares were subject to margin lending facilities.

    Meanwhile, Balkans Gold has issued a statement saying it does not know whether its shares are affected, despite being named by GSJBW.

    Gindalbie Resources’ share register is also involved to the tune of around 6.2% thanks to major Malaysian shareholder Melewar, but yesterday Gindalbie won a Supreme Court injunction to stop the affected shares being offloaded by ANZ.

    Other companies may not escape so lightly – Fairstar Resources, for example, went into a trading halt yesterday over a substantial stake it owns in its takeover target Golden West Resources, around 14.5 million shares according to Golden West.

    If this stake is sold off, it could effectively scuttle Fairstar’s takeover bid for Golden West – which was already looking increasingly shaky, as Fairstar battled to raise money via a $2.5 million capital raising at 20c per share and Golden West shareholder take-up of the offer stalled at around 33%.

    As for Perth businessman Nathan McMahon, it seems a fair whack of his shareholdings is being held, and presumably offloaded, by the ANZ. This includes his 10.2% stake in Bannerman Resources, some 3.2% of Cazaly Resources, 3% of Catalyst Metals, and around 4% of Hodges Resources.

    McMahon’s fellow director at Catalyst Metals, Bryan Dixon, also holds 70,000 shares in Blackham Resources, around 0.2% of its shares.

    The company said this morning that to the best of its knowledge, around 3.3% of its issued capital could be affected by the fall of Opes. Dixon’s 420,000 shareholding in Hodges Resources is also affected.

    Meanwhile, the Australian Financial Review quoted one Perth director as saying that some companies had up to 60% of their stock in Opes Prime margin lending accounts, but as yet no evidence of this level of involvement has come to light.

    Given how many miners and explorers appear on the GSBJW sale list, however, it is certain the revelations will continue.

    But what is the true fallout going to be?

    For now, the impact of the Opes collapse seems minimal, with the market’s eyes attuned more closely to the movement of gold and base metals prices overseas.

    This morning, the mining sector was up significantly, lead by gains from both Rio Tinto, up $4.32 to $129.68, and BHP Billiton, up $1.22 to $37.97.
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