In a further sign that the global resources sector is firmly stuck in the doldrums, mining IPOs have plunged in both Australia and Canada.
In the month of November, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX venture exchange collectively saw the listing of a mere 62 companies, or less than half the number for the same month last year.
The figure for November this year appears especially paltry compared to the number of listings logged during the peak phase of the global mining boom in November 2009 and November 2010, both of which were in excess of 200.
IPO activity on Toronto’s exchanges can be interpreted as a key indicator of the health of the global resources sector, given that they comprise the world’s leading centre for mining financing. In 2012 alone, Toronto’s exchanges accounted for around 70 per cent of all of the world’s mining equity financing.
The combined stock market value of Canada’s listed mining companies, which number more than 1,600 in total, has plunged by about half in just the past two years.
In the Antipodes, Australia is experiencing an even more severe drought of mining IPOs. There have been no new listings of mining companies in the past two months, with a mere handful of new mining IPOs currently in the works and still struggling to raise cash.
Valence Industries has settled for $6.73 million after initially seeking $10 million to fund its Uley Graphite Project in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, while Elsmore Resources, which mines for tin and sapphires, has only managed to secure less than half of the $5 million it originally hoped to raise.
The poor shape of the mining IPO market in Australia again compares unfavourably with the recent past. In 2007, there were a total of 150 resource floats down under, for an average of almost three per week.
In the vast, resource-laden state of Western Australia, leading members of Perth’s financial sector are already turning to other sectors – biotech in particular – in lieu of mining.
In the past few months, John Poynton, chief of leading investment bank Azure Capital, has made investments in biotech companies just as mining IPO’s have dried up, saying that appetite amongst investors for resources stock is now on the wane.