Former coal explorer Tartana Resources is moving into copper and zinc ahead of a potential ASX listing next month.

Tartana was formerly known as Riverside Energy when it owned a coking coal project in the UK.

Following a £22 million ($40.4 million) cash injection from Melbourne-based private equity firm EMR Capital, Tartana de-merged the coal project into private British company West Cumbria Mining.

Now it’s looking to tap Australian investors for $6 million to pursue its new quest of becoming a “significant copper-zinc company”.

Tartana owns a copper and zinc project in northern Queensland (also called Tartana) and a zinc slag project in western Tasmania called Zeehan.

The copper-zinc project neighbours the Auctus Minerals King Vol zinc mine, which along with Auctus’s Mungana mine has received some $200 million from US private equity firm Denham Capital.

Zinc projects are attracting interest from explorers and investors because of the closure of a number of zinc mines in Australia and Ireland and the cutting of production at others.

The metal, which is used to galvanise steel, is also benefiting from increased Chinese demand as the Asian powerhouse continues its crackdown on illegal and polluting operations.

> Bookmark this link for small cap breaking news
> Discuss small cap news in our Facebook group
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

In the past year the zinc price has climbed as much as 40 per cent to a peak of $US3617 ($4670) per tonne. It is currently trading at around $US3238 per tonne – still a 25.6 per cent gain in the past 12 months.

The Tartana project hosts a zinc prospect known as “Queen Grade” which has a similar mineralisation style to the King Vol orebody — but requires drilling to quantify the mineralisation.

The company believes Queen Grade could become a satellite ore source to feed Auctus’s Mungana processing plant.

Tartana is aiming for a May 31 listing.

Digging in for nickel and cobalt

Also looking to list on the ASX in May is Galileo Mining, a nickel and cobalt focused explorer.

The company owns the Norseman and Fraser Range projects in Western Australia.

The Fraser Range region shot to fame back in 2012 when Sirius Resources uncovered the Nova-Bollinger nickel, copper and cobalt mine that eventually sold to larger rival Independence Group (ASX:IGO) for $1.8 billion.

Galileo says its Fraser Range project covers two zones of the 400km-long Fraser Range belt that also hosts the Nova-Bollinger discovery.

The company is looking to raise up to $15 million ahead of a May 11 debut.