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It’s not hard to find a company with an ailing share price that is willing to talk about mystery suitors waiting in the wings.

On one level it makes sense that when a company’s share price suffers a significant decline would-be buyers may circle in the hope of picking up a bargain. Even so, a cynical observer could not help noticing such pronouncements often result in a much-needed price bounce for the target company.

What is more difficult is finding examples where these sorts of revelations actually result in a corporate deal being done.

Ampella Mining shareholders may be wondering whether their company will fall into the latter category, two months after the West African-focused explorer surprised the market by all but putting itself up for sale. According to Ampella the company actually tapped Macquarie Capital and Gresham Advisory Partners back in January but only went public with that fact in April, citing approaches from unnamed parties. That was after a tough six months in which its shares dropped nearly 50 per cent.

The news prompted a 5 per cent share price spike on the day but global turbulence and on global markets, coupled with a lack of news flow has since sent them down about 35 per cent.

Yesterday’s news of some interesting hits at Ampella’s Wadaradoo prospect at Batie West in Burkina Faso (Ampella is still pouring money into the ground, with a hefty $25 million exploration budget) did nothing to arrest the slide, with the stock off another 1.5¢ to 68¢.

Still, it’s understood the corporate process continues to chug along. and Several parties have visited the been out to site and insiders have rebuffed suggestions the sale has slowed. with insiders rebuffing any suggestion macroeconomic turmoil had put the brakes on. Assuming Ampella sticks to its original schedule of two to three months, to run the process, it should have something to tell shareholders in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the owner of WA’s Magellan lead mine, Canadian-listed Ivernia, is topping up its coffers while it waits for some clarity about the future of its stalled operation, raising $C6 million ($5.8 million) from its controlling shareholder, Enirgi Group Corp.

But the cash injection does not mean Ivernia is preparing to turn the lights back on at Magellan. It is intended to fund ongoing care and maintenance, rather than a restart.
As part of the Ivernia-Enirgi deal the latter will have the one-off right to buy up to 5000 tonnes of lead carbonate concentrate, always assuming Ivernia receives the regulatory tick to start mining again.

Magellan has been on care and maintenance since April while Ivernia waits for a verdict from the State Government on operating conditions for the controversial mine. The Environmental Protection Authority of WA has released its recommendations, which are being considered by the government. In a brief update this week Ivernia shed little light on where it stood, saying it could provide guidance on neither the timing of the conditions nor their content.

kate.emery@wanews.com.au

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