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|Equity finance provides the most suitable and frequently the only access to capital during the exploration and evaluation stages of resource projects when project risk is at its highest. Investors are prepared to provide equity funds in the knowledge that they are compensated for the higher risk they take on with higher potential returns or sufficient upside potential to justify the higher risk. The context of resource projects which determines the role of equity finance has changed considerably. Prior to the resurgence of the gold price and the development of new mining technology many resource projects were selectively mining orebodies by underground methods frequently with limited reserves proved up in advance of mining. The limited proved ore reserves base and the volatility of the gold price all contributed to a higher risk and higher return investment environment in which the use of equity finance was more appropriate and frequently the only option for capital raising. The financial risk of a resources project can be transferred to an underwriter who makes the commitment to distribute the financial risk between a number of investors. There is also the opportunity for financiers to use a mix of equity and debt finance to allow a company to proceed with the development stage where without such a mix the resource project would not proceed. By using a level of equity finance the project becomes robust enough in its ability to service the debt finance facility and the project proceeds with the equity participants receiving a suitable risk reward return. The liquidity from the establishment of a market for the company's securities enhances further capital raising and generally enables the company to satisfy its financial requirements on more favourable terms particularly during bull markets. The role of equity finance in the management of the financial risk during the exploration, evaluation, development and mining stages of resource projects is summarised in Table 1. In more detail the principal roles of equity finance and the ways in which equity finance impact on the risk management of resource projects will be considered in turn.|