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Greenfields Exploration IPO off the cards with change of funding strategy

Greenfields Exploration Ltd. abandoned its plans to undertake Australia's first retail equity crowdfunding for a miner and to list on the ASX in early 2019 after Independence Group NL agreed to fund initial regional exploration work in Greenland.

The Perth, Australia-based startup had flagged its intention in April to raise up to A$5 million through a crowdsourced equity sale to fund frontier exploration ahead of an ASX listing in the first quarter of 2019, having secured 12,975 square kilometers in eastern Greenland. This is an area 20 times larger than the median project listing for exploration companies on the ASX in the 12 months prior to that point.

Independence Group's project generation and evaluation team, which was expanded in fiscal 2018, "rapidly identified" two new belt-scale opportunities: Greenfields' Frontier project which the Danish and Greenlandic governments have identified as highly prospective for copper, cobalt and nickel; and its own 100%-owned Raptor project in the Northern Territory, which potentially hosts magmatic nickel-copper-cobalt sulfide deposits akin to the Fraser Range and its Nova deposit.

The nickel producer said in its July 26 annual mineral resource and ore reserve and exploration statement that it had entered into an option/joint venture arrangement for Frontier. The arrangement could let it earn an 80% interest in about 13,000 square kilometers of granted exploration licences via in-ground expenditure with project manager Greenfields, indicating that it would fund regional-scale work across the entire ground.

Independence Group noted in that statement that Frontier is prospective for sediment-hosted copper-cobalt deposits in geological settings analogous to the Central African Copper Belt in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Zechstein Basin in Poland and Germany, which is the host to the world's largest sediment-hosted copper deposit, the Kupferschiefer.

Though Greenfields had also planned to have a crowdsourced competition to find drill targets for Frontier, with the results to assessed by a Center for Exploration Targeting doctorate student, which was also reportedly a new step for the mining industry.

Greenfields Managing Director Jon Bell told S&P Global Market Intelligence that while his company was working with Independence Group to plan the regional-scale exploration work underpinned by airborne geophysics due to start mid-2019 followed by drilling in later years, he had not yet discussed the crowdsourced drill target competition with Independence Group.

"We're still looking to do the competition for the drill targets, but will need to pass it through Independence Group, and come up with a joint settlement accordingly," he said. "We haven't talked about an IPO at all. We've been deep in the project-level work and have barely come up for air [in the past fortnight]."

Bell also confirmed that his board and management would remain unchanged even amid the funding strategy shift, including director Lindsay Dick, whose expertise as blockchain company Power Ledge General Counsel would have come in handy for Greenfields' use of new technology to obtain new funds and data analysis.

"Lindsay's specialty is startups, and in an executive role, he has a lot to contribute with the next round of funding, whatever that may be. We're starting to think about that now," Bell said.