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ASH`s $70 million Fund Raising Completed

Document date:  Fri 10 Jul 1998
Published:  Fri 10 Jul 1998 00:00:00
Document No:  139155
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  N
Classification: 

ASHTON MINING LIMITED                         1998-07-10  ASX-SIGNAL-G

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

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Ashton has now completed the $70 million fund raising announced on 20
May 1998, through the issue of 58,781,193 new shares, with the
allotment to be completed on 14 July 1998.

The fund raising was achieved by a placement to institutional
shareholders on the 19 May 1998 of 27,972,880 new shares at $1.23 per
share raising $34.4 million, together with a 1 for 10 renounceable
rights issue for 30,808,313 new shares at $1.15 per share raising
$35.4 million. The rights issue closed on 1 July 1998 and
shareholders (other than institutional sub-underwriters) subscribed
for 14,920,915 of the new shares. The rights issue was fully
subscribed by the Company's largest shareholder, Malaysia Mining
Corporation (47.3%) and the balance was underwritten by ANZ
Securities Limited and sub-underwritten by a group of institutional
shareholders in the Company.

The funds raised will be used in Ashton's three most advanced diamond
development projects, the Cuango River alluvial project in Angola
(Ashton 33.3%), the Merlin hardrock mine in Australia's Northern
Territory (Ashton 77.4%) and the Cempaka alluvial diamond project in
Kalimantan, Indonesia (Ashton 48%).

First production from the Cuango River project is scheduled for
August 1998. Production of high quality gem stones, with an average
value in the range of US$200 - 350 per carat, is expected to steadily
build up to one million carats per annum over the next few years.

Plant construction at Merlin has begun following the grant of mineral
title after the completion of Native Title negotiations last month.
First production from the 700,000 tonnes per annum Stage One plant is
scheduled for January 1999.

Campsite construction has begun for the Cempaka project and project
site construction is scheduled to begin in August 1998 in readiness
for the importation of a 2.5 million cubic metres per annum
bucketline dredge to be used for the project's trial mining program.

"With funding for these three projects secured we look forward to
becoming a multi-sourced diamond producer" commented Ashton's Chief
Executive, John Robinson.

Ashton is also a 40% owner of the Argyle diamond mine in Western
Australia, the world's largest volume diamond producer. The first
stage of further development of the AK1 open pit was announced last
month, which gives immediate access to additional ore reserves and is
the forerunner to further AK1 pit development, with details expected
to be announced during this second half. Argyle achieved record first
half 1998 diamond sales of US$229 million.

For further information, please contact:

Mr John Robinson
CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Ashton Mining Limited
4th Floor, 441 St Kilda Road                
Melbourne, Vic 3004 Australia               
Telephone: +61 3 9828 4200
Facsimile: +61 3 9828 4211
www.ashton.net.au
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