Marine gem hunter to list on JSE

[] — IT’s been about ten years since investor sentiment for the Southern African marine diamond sector sunk along with the grand production plans for over-ambitious operator Namco.

Even the last remnant of the great late nineties marine diamond rush, the much hyped Benguella Concessions, has been covered by the tide as Trans Hex (which acquired Benco after failing to takeover Ocean Diamond Mining) has – save for some shallow water activity – shut down its marine operations.

So it’s probably about right – in terms of investment cycles – that the JSE could soon be hosting a new marine diamond mining listing in the form of Afri-Can Marine Mining Corporation.

Afri-Can, which is currently listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, controls a mining area known as Block J off the Namibian coast.

Afri-Can CEO Pierre Leveille told MiningMx on Thursday that the company was serious about securing a secondary JSE listing at the end of this year or early next year.

“We have had a strong association with South African investors. Around 40% of issued shares are held by South Africans.”

Leveille said that while Afri-can would probably look to raising new capital with the JSE listing, the raising of funds was not the prime reason for seeking a local listing. “It’s really building on a long term relationship.we are mining in the South African investors’ backyard.”

Leveille said that after some encouraging sampling Afri-Can was planning to contract a mining vessel from International Mining and Dredging Holdings.

He said recent sampling in Block J had yielded 398 stones. “These were not the biggest stones, but it’s clear there are high concentrations of stones in certain areas and we are confident of coming out with much bigger stones.”

Leveille said the company would hopefully by the end of this month be publishing a technical report that would show delineated resources for Block J.

Afri-Can holds a value of C$16,9m (R120m) on the Toronto Stock Exchange