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Warren Mundine's Fuse Minerals fails to fire as ASX dreams bomb

David Prestipino -

The minerals exploration company chaired by Warren Mundine has withdrawn its public share offering after failing to secure a revised $6 million target in January to float on the ASX.

The board of Fuse Minerals - led by chair Mr Mundine and managing director Todd Axford - were due to meet on Thursday afternoon to determine the company's future, after several months of spruiking to potential investors based mainly on promising drilling results for copper at its Mt Sydney tenement.

Mr Axford gave an IPO update in late February on social media ahead of the March 28 capital raising deadline, stressing Fuse's confidence was driven by the technical nous of its staff for early stage discovery, complemented by business identities such as Mr Mundine's connections with industry heavyweights to advance its projects, which encompass two in WA and one in Queensland, as well as nine exploration "tenements".

The company's flagship Mt Sydney Project is in the prolific Paterson Province of WA between the Nifty, Woodie Woodie, Telfer, Havieron and Winu deposits, with the company's tenure encompassing 1,119sqkm.

"I sit here [today] and say that with every intent and confidence we are moving forward with the IPO, and we're well advanced with the capital raise," Mr Axford said in Fuse's IPO update in late February.

"If we decide not to proceed with the IPO... that would leave us in a position where our share registry consists of the early-stage investors, and we'd be probably step back and focus on the Mt Sydney project, looking purely at a staged approach to drilling there, rather than at its other targets."

Fuse's initial public offering on November 20 was extended in January and its $10m capital raising target slashed to $6m, amid reports it was well short of the funds required to float, which was to be April 15.

"The directors of the company have resolved to withdraw the Offer as set out in the Prospectus. This Third Supplementary Prospectus formally withdraws the Offer and confirms that the expiry date of the Prospectus is brought forward to the date of this Third Supplementary Prospectus (March 28)," the updated prospectus read.

"No securities have been issued prior to the date of this Third Supplementary Prospectus, and the Company will not issue any securities under the Prospectus.

"All application monies received will be returned to Applicants as soon as practicable. There is no need for those parties to request a refund."

Mr Mundine told the NIT in late February he was confident Fuse was on track to raise the remaining $1.5m by the IPO deadline but the company withdrew its offer in its latest prospectus on March 28, meaning investors could have their funds returned in accordance with ASIC requirements.

Only weeks ago Mr Mundine told National Indigenous Times media reports it had raised only $1.86m were incorrect, and he was confident of securing the $1.5m remaining for Fuse to float on the ASX.

"We're in negotiations with a couple of people... I have a presentation tonight in front of 40 people about the project, and our stockbrokers are out and about, and sounding very positive at the moment as well," he said in late February, ahead of a meeting in Perth with potential major investors.

"We're quite confident in the project ... we've got three sites we are doing, we're doing base metal but copper is our main focus and that, as we know, in the next three years is going to be the big thing, with the renewable energy industry."

He also expressed hope early-stage investors would stick with the company if the IPO didn't get off the ground.

Those investors had a chance to get their money back two days before Mr Saxon's online briefing, with the deadline listed as February 26 in the second prospectus Fuse Minerals issued on January 24, but that information was not widely promoted and detailed only if the prospectus was read on its webstie.

Two days after the deadline, Mr Axford said the company hoped a pot of gold would land for remaining investors via an "outfarming arrangement early in the second half of 2024, potentially at a time when the copper price is starting to kick up" after a stalled capital raising campaign blamed on Christmas and school holidays.

"We were talking to people last year who were saying 'oh it's a really great strategy, you've got really good projects but no one's doing IPOs so, I'm not sure I'm interested'," Mr Saxon told the online briefing.

"So yeah, it has been a tough climate, but now, if you look at the outlook for copper, it's looking very positive ... I'm even hearing reports of people saying we might be heading for a copper deficit as early as the second half of this year.

"I think if we see a real uplift in the copper price starting to happen through the back end of this year, people will be starting to be wanting to jump into copper exposure.

"If that aligns up with us having some good early drill results [at Mt Sydney], then we could really be off and running with some early returns for investors."

That information was detailed in its second prospectus issued to ASIC on January 24 but not apparent on the company's homepage, latest news section or its social media posts, which continued to spruik the IPO to investors.

Mr Mundine had been contacted for comment.

The Fuse Minerals latest prospectus detailing the withdrawal of the IPO can be viewed here.

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