Mining listings bring Indian gold and Irish zinc to London

LONDON (Reuters) - Two exploration companies with assets spanning gold in India to zinc in Ireland will list their shares on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on Thursday, bringing to 11 the number of mining listings this year as commodities prices recover.

Shares in Panthera resources, whose prime asset is a gold project in Rajasthan and Erris Resources, which has gold in Sweden and zinc in Ireland, will start trading at 0800 GMT.

Commodity prices have stabilized after a steep downturn in 2015 and early 2016 and the number of share listings is up dramatically from just two in 2016. Junior miners who are exploring and developing assets, however, say it is still hard to raise capital.

London’s AIM is home to many smaller businesses and helps them secure the funds to grow, but of the mining companies listed so far this year, the majority have fallen below their opening prices.

Panthera’s Managing Director Geoff Stanley told Reuters his company stood apart in its exposure to India, whose hurdles to entry deter many non-Indian companies.

“India is difficult, but the prize is worth it,” Stanley said.

Panthera has cleared the toughest administrative stages, winning approval from the government of Rajasthan, which Stanley said should make a prospecting license for the at least 6 million ounce Bhukia Project a formality.

Panthera Resources, which also has gold projects in West Africa, has had 4 million Australian dollars ($3 million) in backing from the Singapore-based fund Republic Investment Management and will get a further 2.7 million Australian dollars once the Indian prospecting license is secured.

Erris Resources has raised 4 million pounds ($5.4 million).

Canada's Osisko Gold Royalties OR.TO has invested 1.47 million pounds to become a 18.9 percent shareholder and Centerra Gold CG.TO, also of Canada, has a strategic alliance to help explore the Swedish assets.

CEO Merlin Marr-Johnson said the company would drill in the first quarter across its assets.

The company's zinc in Sligo, Ireland, is shallow, he said, making it comparatively cheap to mine and positioning it well to profit from zinc prices CMZN3, which have risen by around a quarter this year.

Gold prices XAU= have risen roughly 10 percent in 2017, but have fallen from peaks as geopolitical tensions have eased and dollar weakness has faded.

As a cross between a currency and a commodity, gold largely ignores supply-demand fundamentals and decisions to mine are based on the economics of a specific resource.

Marr-Johnson said the Swedish reserve was “gold plus, plus”, as the deposits also contained other metals, but said gold always has appeal.

“Gold is essentially the original Bitcoin,” he said, referring to its independence from governments.

The other resource companies listed in London this year are Rainbow Rare Earths RBWR.L, Phoenix Global Mining PGMH.L, Jangada JANJ.L, Polyus PLZLq.L, Altus Strategies ALS.L, Cora Gold CORAC.L, EN+ Group ENPLq.L, AfriTin Mining ATM.L and most recently Shefa Yamin, an explorer for precious stones in northern Israel. SEFA.LSEFA.TA

Editing by Elaine Hardcastle