The Company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1997 as Africwest Gold NL. A program of exploration focused on West Africa continued throughout 1997 and 1998, but coincided with falling gold prices and an industry-wide slump in the equity markets for mineral exploration.
In October 1999, after shareholder approval, the Company concluded a transaction with Iscor Ltd of South Africa that saw Iscor become Africwest's major shareholder (a relationship that continued until Iscor sold its remaining interest in the Company in late 2003) in return for a suite of prospective gold properties in Africa and the Pacific Rim and a $2.85 million financing commitment. At the same time the Company's name was changed to Mincor Resources NL and a new board and management were appointed.
During 2000 Mincor progressed its African and Pacific Rim gold projects and developed an Alliance with BHP for the development of the copper resources at the Reko Diq Project in Pakistan. The Alliance was moved to a newly-created subsidiary, Tethyan Copper Company Limited.
In parallel with the above, Mincor focused considerable effort on finding and acquiring an advanced project or producing mine in Australia. After evaluating numerous opportunities, Mincor bid for and won the Miitel Nickel Mine and associated tenements. The deal with WMC Resources Ltd was signed on 21 November 2000.
After arranging debt and equity financing of $29 million for the acquisition and working capital costs, Mincor completed the Miitel acquisition in late February 2001. Nickel production commenced immediately from the Miitel Mine. By financial year-end, after only four months of production, Mincor had produced a full-year profit before tax of over $4 million.
In July 2001 Mincor won the bid to acquire WMC's Wannaway Nickel Mine. The transaction was settled in late September 2001, making Mincor a two-mine company with 10,000 tonnes per annum of attributable nickel metal production and the second largest independent nickel sulphide producer in Australia.
During the latter half of calendar 2002 Mincor's exploration team discovered the North Miitel ore body, which subsequently entered production in 2005.
In early 2003 Mincor announced that it had repaid the project finance debt that it used to acquire the two mines, some 12 months ahead of schedule. This allowed the Company to commence paying dividends to shareholders.
Also in early 2003 Mincor announced details of its Nickel Expansion Strategy, aimed at the development of three new operations containing an additional 41,000 tonnes of nickel metal. Development commenced in October 2003, and by the end of 2005 all three new operations (North Miitel, Mariners and Redross) were in full production.
In October 2003 Mincor spun out its subsidiary, Tethyan Copper Company Limited, in one of the most successful resource floats of 2003. The spin-out was accomplished via a return of capital to shareholders, with Mincor distributing all the shares it held in Tethyan to its own shareholders. Mincor's shareholders ultimately reaped 41.5c per Mincor share from the spin-off, following the successful takeover of Tethyan by Antofagasta and Barrick in early 2006 at a price of $1.40 per Tethyan share.
In early 2006, with its four nickel mines operating at full capacity, Mincor began to prepare for its next phase of growth. The Company announced a Growth and Expansion Strategy designed to aggressively grow its existing nickel mining business while simultaneously expanding the Company's interests across a wider range of mineral commodities.
The first fruits of the new strategy came in early 2006 when Mincor struck a deal with View Resources Ltd to earn an interest in the Carnilya Hill nickel project. Mincor commenced drilling in May 2006 and the discovery hole was drilled in June. Less than one year later, following the resource drill-out and completion of feasibility studies, Mincor announced the go-ahead for a new mining operation at Carnilya Hill.
Next came a landmark deal to acquire a package of ground covering the northern portion of the highly prospective Kambalda Dome, announced in December 2006. This transaction was ultimately rolled into a larger transaction involving the acquisition of the private company, GMM Pty Ltd, and all of its assets, including the assets covered by the original deal but adding the operating Otter Juan Nickel Mine. The $68.5 million internally financed acquisition was Mincor's most significant purchase since its acquisition of the Miitel Mine, and was concluded on 1 July 2007 .
By the end of June 2008 the Otter Juan Mine had generated an operating surplus of $79 million - reflecting a cash payback of less than one year on the purchase price.
When nickel prices fell sharply under the impact of the global financial crisis in late 2008, Mincor took advantage of the production flexibility inherent in its operations. The Company reduced costs by suspending mining at higher cost operations and pulling production back to a core of low-cost mines that continue to generate strong cash flows. The Company's common-sense approach to its own finances also came to the fore during this period, with its debt-free and cash-rich balance sheet making it one of the financially strongest companies on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Today, after 13 years of successful production, with a strong and stable management team, strong cash flows, ongoing dividends and a healthy balance sheet, Mincor continues as one of Australia's most successful mid-cap mining companies, offering its shareholders exposure to the growth opportunities of the world-class Kambalda Nickel District and the wider world of mineral resources.