(EnergyAsia, August 24, Monday) — New figures announced at a recent resource conference have highlighted the struggle facing Australian explorers to raise working capital for both new and on-going exploration and mining projects over the past two years

At the Paydirt 2009 Resources Victoria Conference in Melbourne, Patersons Securities Limited said there were 252 initial public offers (IPOs) in 2007, but that plunged to just 68 last year.

It’s been even more dismal this year, with just eight IPOs launched, said Patersons Securities’ corporate finance director, Neil Doyle.

He said: “Two years ago, the then IPOs raised A7,650 million, dropping to about a third of that last year and just $400 million this year of which one float accounted for A$300 million of that figure. The impact is no more evident than in the mining sector which crashed from 140 IPOs in 
2007 to 40 last year to just three this year.” (US$1=A$1.2).

He said the sentiment towards gold, a key contributor to Victoria’s resources profile, had taken a bit of a battering as negative investor sentiment would be long lasting towards the recent gold failures in the state.

“This negative sentiment is exacerbated by decisions such as Lihir Gold to take an impairment charge of between US$250 – $350 million on Ballarat Gold – a very strong wealth destruction message, along with the performance of other such Victorian-focused gold entities as Leviathan and Perserverance.