JOHN Teeling's latest venture Botswana Diamonds began trading on London's AIM market today, valued at close to £7m (€8.2m).
Best known as the founder of the Cooley Whiskey Distillery, Mr Teeling has been the promoter of 10 previous mining and exploration companies.
Mr Teeling is the Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, former DeBeers and Anglo American executive Andre Fourie is Technical Director.
Shares in Botswana were trading at 6.5p each after yesterday's initial public offer (IPO), valuing the business at around £7m. Mr Teeling has ambitious plans to list three further exploration companies in the months ahead, as he cashes in on rising commodity prices and strong demand for diamonds and precious minerals from India and China in particular.
Commenting on the latest venture, Mr Teeling said: "This is a very good time to be in resources. Diamond demand is rising as are prices. Diamonds are hard to find. We have the team, the expertise and the ground."
The newly listed company was created by Mr Teeling after he sold his previously AIM listed Africa Diamonds venture to rival Lucara in a £51m deal last year. Lucara took control of Africa Diamonds productive mining assets and handed its exploration business back to Mr Teeling to create Botswana Diamonds. The Lucara takeover was an all-share deal, with Africa Diamonds investors paid 80pc of a Lucara share and one Botswana share per Africa Diamonds share.
The somewhat convoluted process to form Botswana means that unlike many newly listed companies, the essentials of the Botswana story and management are known quantities for investors.
The new venture has holds three exploration licenses in Botswana, the landlocked Southern African country bordering South Africa to the north. In addition it will pursue exploration opportunities in Zimbabwe and Cameroon. Botswana Diamonds has US$2m in cash to fund exploration through 2011, the company said in a statement.