Small Talk: Timis stands by his claim of ENRC buy-in

Zilch! Those are the chances of FTSE 100-listed Eurasian Natural Resources Corp (ENRC) investing in African Minerals, according to sources close to the Kazakh group last week.

African Minerals, the Aim-listed mining group run by the colourful Frank Timis, made a big claim last September when it said that ENRC was among a number of suitors.

ENRC, it's fair to say, was pretty enraged at the time, having had no prior notice of the announcement, and – embarrassingly – coming just days before it bought another Aim-listed miner, Camec, which had been run until that point by another small-cap mining behemoth, Phil Edmonds.

African Minerals has insisted that the ENRC has remained in the frame ever since, even in January when it announced a sale of 12.5 per cent of the company to the Chinese state-owned China Railway Materials Commercial Corp (CRM), a steel-trading firm.

Sources close to African Minerals at the time said that CRM deal was "strategic" and that talks were still ongoing with a number of parties regarding a corporate deal, including ENRC. And an offer for African Minerals might not be a bad idea for ENRC.

The Kazakhs are looking to "diversify" and as well as the buyout of Camec, last week the company declared that it was leveraging its balance sheet to make more acquisitions. According to Mr Timis, African Minerals' Tonkolili iron-ore asset in Sierra Leone, holds 10.5bn tons of the commodity, making it one of the biggest deposits in the world.

Mr Timis has, of course, a history of being surrounded by controversy. In 1996 he founded Regal Petroleum, which in 2003 acquired a 60 per cent of an oil field in Greece. Regal claimed that the field was one of the biggest in Europe, containing as much as a billion barrels.

Sadly, and after the share priced peaked at 509p, giving the company a market capitalisation of £500m, it transpired that in fact the field was all but dry, leading a 60 per cent loss in the value of Regal.

African Minerals last week said it stands squarely behind its statement of last September. Someone is not being straight.

Frontier Mining switching focus in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan was in the news elsewhere on Aim last week. Frontier Mining, the very aptly named resources group with interests in Kazakhstan, said that it had extended a number of mining licences in the country, which it believes will allow it to start producing copper by the middle of next year.

Frontier is about the best example of how mining works on the Aim market. The group raised a whole heap of cash a number of years ago to explore various sites in Kazakhstan that it thought might have something useful buried beneath the surface.

Having spent the money on what turned out to be a busted flush, the previous management team then struggled to persuade investors to part with their cash to fund more adventures, and had to leave. Its new chief executive, Erlan Sagadiev, who has pumped some £13m of his own money into Frontier's projects, has changed the attention of the company to its Koskuduk, Baitimir, Naimanjal, Beschoku projects, which the group has now decided represent its best prospects. Investors are clearly of a similar opinion with the group's shares climbing by 900 per cent in the last 12 months.

Bellzone to use Aim listing to finance move into African iron ore

IPOs have been all the rage in recent weeks, both for those that have managed to get deals away, and more noteworthily, for those whose planned flotation has been scuppered by unwilling investors.

The latest to enter the fray is Bellzone Mining – the West African-focused, and Australia-based, iron-ore mining hopeful – which is hoping to get its hands on a $100m (£67m) when it lists on Aim on Wednesday. It does have advantages it can exploit, so long as it doesn't get greedy and ask for too much money.

The group is a bauxite miner, but the money it hopes to raise this week will go towards developing an iron-ore project in Guinea. The mining giant Rio Tinto last week agreed a joint venture with its biggest backer, Chinalco – with which it has only just made friends again after falling out over investment last year – over a project just up the road from Bellzone's site. Tom Albanese, Rio's chairman, reckons the site could end up being the world's biggest iron-ore deposit.

Bellzone estimates that it has a 2.4bn-ton resource, and that the Aim money will be able to shore up the project.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before