Mining fund opening, hopes to pick market bottom

SINGAPORE, April 3 (Reuters) - A new $1 billion fund has been established by a Hong Kong-based capital raiser to invest in mining assets, banking on catching the bottom of the price cycle, focused initially on Australia and Canada.

The fund, called World Mining Investment, will open with $400 million under management by the end of April and will be fully capitalized to $1 billion by the end of November, according to WMI’s chairman Didier J. Rault.

Rault said the initial capital came from a group of four Chinese and Chinese-American investors.

The fund will invest in mining companies, especially those in Australia and Canada, with a longer-term eye on Africa and Central Asia. Targets will include copper and gold operations, through coal mines, diamonds, and even oil.

“We will invest in mining equities or even directly in mines. We are looking for companies that we can control, companies in which we can hold 51 percent of the capital at least,” Rault said.

“We think the market has bottomed out so it is a good time to launch this fund.”

Rault, speaking while on holiday in Bangkok, said a number of projects had been short listed, but declined to say which he was interested in. (Reporting by Maryelle Demongeot; Writing by Nick Trevethan; Editing by Michael Urquhart)