ASX-listed mining explorer WA1 Resources has secured firm commitments from institutional investors for a placement of new shares to raise A$15m ($9.7m).

Funds from the placement will be used mainly for ongoing exploration activities and development studies at the West Arunta gold and copper project in Western Australia.

The proceeds will also be used for administration costs and working capital requirements.

As part of the placement, WA1 will issue three million new shares in two tranches and will have a total of 56.7 million shares on issue.

Each share has been priced at A$5 for the placement, which marks a 5% discount to the company’s ten-day volume-weighted average price.

In the first tranche, the company plans to issue nearly 2.6 million shares for a total amount of A$12.8m.

It plans to raise the remaining A$2.2m by issuing 400,000 new shares in the second tranche.

This tranche will be issued only after securing WA1 shareholder clearance in a general meeting scheduled early next month.

WA1 managing director Paul Savich said: “We continue to have two drill rigs operating at Luni, which are completing ongoing infill and step-out drilling in support of the maiden mineral resource estimate planned for release in the first half of 2024. Development activities are also gathering momentum with initial sighter testwork ongoing before upcoming metallurgical programmes commence.

“Our team has also continued to grow to support a number of development activities in line with our long-term, structured approach to fast-tracking project development aspects, and this additional funding enhances our ability to do so.”

The West Arunta project is located 700km from Alice Springs and includes three granted exploration tenements covering 267km² and two exploration licence applications.

The project’s tenements have been found to contain gold and copper in the form of reconnaissance airborne geophysics. They also contain niobium, rare earth elements and phosphorous.