Wealthy Sydney businessman Ervin Vidor has upped his stake in junior gold and base metals explorer Sipa Resources.

Mr Vidor, founder and chairman of residential apartment developer and hotel operator Toga Group, has agreed to stump up an extra $450,640 to take his stake to 10 per cent.

The share placement is being done through Rodiv (NSW) – a company controlled by Mr Vidor.

It is also being done at a nearly 23 per cent premium to Sipa’s closing share price last Friday.

Mr Vidor agreed to pay 0.86c per share, picking up another 52.4 million shares, to help fund Sipa’s aggressive copper exploration program in the Paterson province in WA’s Pilbara.

The news sent shares up over 14 per cent to 0.8c on Monday morning.

There has been speculation that the Vidor family has been sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into Sipa in order to stay in the Top 20 to establish a potential control position if the company makes a big discovery.

But Mr Vidor declined to comment on the rumours when contacted by Stockhead.

The Paterson province has become a particularly hot topic following reports of a big copper find by mining giant Rio Tinto in the region.

Industry watchers say the speculation has put the Paterson province on the map as an exploration hotspot and is very reminiscent of what happened with the Fraser Range after Sirius Resources made its big Nova-Bollinger discovery, when Independence Group (ASX:IGO) quickly swallowed up Sirius in a $1.8 billion deal.

However, the value of the Vidor’s family shareholding has been dropping since they took an initial stake nearly 20 years ago.

Sipa’s share price was 3.7c at the start of 2000 — the year Mr Vidor first picked up shares in the company — hitting as high as 33.5c in January 2002 before starting its decline and eventually sliding to an all-time low of 0.6c at the end of 2018.

Sipa Resources (ASX:SRI) shares hit an all-time low of 0.6c at the end of 2018.
Sipa Resources (ASX:SRI) shares hit an all-time low of 0.6c at the end of 2018.

But the property and hotel mogul said he is committed to his investment.

“Prior to our initial investment in 2000, we reviewed Sipa’s track record, the then current exploration sites, its management and the board of directors,” he told Stockhead.

“We believe in the prospects of Sipa and the integrity and competence of its management and board.

“As a long-term investor, we regularly review Sipa’s on site activities and exploration methodology and remain committed to our investment at this time.”

The Vidor family has other “minimal” investments in junior explorers, but Mr Vidor would not say which ones.