Okapi Resources investors celebrated yesterday as the gold explorer finished its first day on the ASX at a 68 per cent premium.

Chaired by Klaus Eckhof, the stock (ASX: OKR) — which raised $5 million in an initial public offering — was one of the best performers on the ASX yesterday.

Okapi skyrocketed as high as 34c, up 70 per cent on its 20c issue price, before cooling slightly to close at 33.5c with 1.8 million shares changing hands.

The IPO was well over-subscribed, issuing 25 million shares at 20c per share for a market cap of around $6.4 million.

It’s been an interesting year for Okapi’s shareholders.

An earlier IPO attempt in May — when the company was known as Huntsman Resources — was pulled after failing to raise $4.5 million.

The newly cashed-up Okapi will now move forward with a focus on its flagship Mambasa joint venture project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mambasa is similar to other large-scale gold and mineral deposits within the region including AngloGold Ashanti’s 20 million ounce Geita mine in Tanzania and Loncor Resources Inc’s recently defined 1Moz Makapela and 1.9Moz Adumbi gold projects.

The project is at a greenfields stage of exploration and contains several historical colonial gold workings and current artisanal gold workings over 600 metre length and 25 metre in depth.

Okapi also owns 100 per cent of the Crackerjack project near Halls Creek in the north-west of Western Australia.

That project lies in a good neighbourhood, 3.5 km south of the historical Mount Dockrell mine and close to other known gold and mineral occurrences and significant high-grade gold drill intersections.

What’s really helped spark interest in the company is its impressive board.

Okapi’s managing director Nigel Ferguson and chairman Klaus Eckhof are both on the board of AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) which has enjoyed a 600 per cent surge in its share price over the past four months.

“Securing the services of industry heavy weight Klaus Eckhof as Chairman gives Okapi a quantum lift in demonstrating commercialisation of mineral assets given his successful track record in the DRC,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Eckhof recently sold down more than a quarter of his stake in AZV just before the explorer unveiled what could be the world’s largest lithium deposit in the Democratic Republic of Congo.