The weather on the Gold Coast was closing in on Tuesday night and the Resources Rising Stars conference organisers had no choice but to switch the location for the 20th anniversary dinner from poolside at RACV Royal Pines to the undercover tennis arena.

While dancing on a see-through dance floor on the pool had become a missed opportunity, the ABBA act at the Greek-themed dinner soon had the punters up and dancing at the tennis arena. None more so than Talisman chairman and 19% shareholder Kerry Harmanis.

Harmanis cut the floor up like no other. If they were handing out awards for the most committed freestyle dancer of the night, it was his.

“One more time,’’ he declared when taking a break after the first set of ABBA songs. The staid types who had been watching on were pleased. After all, it was free entertainment from the sidelines.

But he wasn’t talking about another display of freedom on the dance floor. He was talking about wanting to make another multi-billion minerals discovery to follow on from his 2007 sale of Jubilee Mines with its high-grade Cosmos nickel discovery to Xstrata.

It is a common affliction for those that have enjoyed big-time success in the past with the drill bit. Harmanis has been doing something about it though, turning some of his Jubilee collect into substantial shareholdings across a number of exploration companies.

One of those is Talisman (ASX:TLM). It is a unique offering in the exploration space as it is self-funding thanks to an uncapped 1% gross revenue royalty on iron ore being produced by Mineral Resources at the Wonmunna mine in the Pilbara.

Cheques of around $600,000 arrive once a month to underpin Talisman’s annual exploration budget of $5-$6 million. Significantly, it allows Talisman to bring a focus and persistency to greenfield exploration plays that other juniors struggle to maintain because of budget pressures.

A few years back it was decided NSW’s prolific but still underexplored central Lachlan Foldbelt was its best chance at delivering the next big discovery chairman Harmanis yearns for.

Last year’s floods in the region forced delays to planned drilling programs following up an initial 12 targets below cover identified by geochemical/geophysical techniques. But the program is now well underway, making for an action packed nine months or so.

Given the copper, gold, zinc/lead and silver targets are big and cover three styles (VMS, porphyry and orogenic), Talisman’s modest market cap ($38m or $28m after counting its $10m in cash) means there is lots of leverage to success with this one.

The investors at the RRS conference cottoned on to that, with their buying after the company’s formal presentation on Thursday pushing the shares up from 18c to 21c.

The presentation was by Talisman chief executive Shaun Vokes. He passed on that there had been “some interesting sniffs’’ at the Stella copper/gold prospect where drilling is underway.

“There will be much more to say about Stella later,’’ Vokes said.

Whether excitement about the sniffs had anything to do with Harmanis’ unbounded energy on the dance floor is not known.

The Rip and Tear gold/copper/lead prospect is also getting some attention, and there will be follow-up work at the Carpina North gold prospect where Talisman was given some early encouragement last year with a 40m hit at 0.51g/t gold.

And earlier this month Talisman reported high-grade gold and copper hits with zinc and silver values at the Durnings prospect. Not too much is being read into the results at this stage, with Vokes saying there was more work to be done there.

All up, it is a potentially transformational drilling program.

“We have all the right ingredients to create the next multi-billion dollar minerals business,’’ Vokes told the conference. Now that would be something to dance about.

Vokes added he always likes to say that in the exploration game, “we are only one drill hole away from success.’’