Voisey's Bay discoverer Diamond Fields faces de-listing

TORONTO, March 14 Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:57pm EDT

TORONTO, March 14 (Reuters) - Diamond Fields International Ltd, a Canadian mining company that shot to fame following the discovery of the massive Voisey's Bay nickel deposit, said on Thursday it is being de-listed for failing to meet Toronto Stock Exchange requirements.

The company, originally founded as Diamond Fields Resources Inc by Jean-Raymond Boulle in 1993, was credited with finding the Voisey's Bay deposit - widely viewed as one of the greatest mineral finds in Canada in decades - in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Diamond Fields gained fame after mining financier Robert Friedland engineered a bidding war for the company before selling it and the yet undeveloped Voisey's Bay asset to then-Canadian nickel miner Inco for C$4.3 billion ($4.19 billion). (Inco was subsequently acquired by Brazilian miner Vale in 2006.)

The diamond assets of the once tiny exploration company were later spun-off into Diamond Fields International, which is now being axed for not meeting the continued listing requirements of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Diamond Fields fate is a reminder of the challenges being faced by many tiny mining and exploration companies, which have been squeezed for capital.

Bankers and mining executives expect a purge of exploration-stage mining companies over the next 18 months as cash shortages threaten hundreds with extinction, de-listing or bankruptcy.

Diamond Fields still owns the diamond concessions along the coast of the African country Namibia and also owns assets in Madagascar and other parts of Africa.

Friedland went on to found Ivanhoe Mines and develop the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia. Ivanhoe changed its name to Turquoise Hill Resources after mining giant Rio Tinto acquired a majority stake in the company in 2012.

The outspoken financier, who is now actively promoting his new venture Ivanplats Ltd, no longer has any ties with Diamond Fields.

Shares of Diamond Fields, which have traded for under 10 Canadian cents a share for nearly a year, closed on Thursday at 4 Canadian cents a share.

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