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Mining Co. Expands Investments to Music Downloads

In recognition of the growth of music on the Internet, Australian mining company Richfield Resources has announced it will acquire Sprint, the Melbourne-based owners of MP3.com.au.

Richfield joins a growing number of Australian mining companies including Golden Hills and Western Minerals who have recently invested in local Web businesses.

Richfield however, is hoping to ride on the success of music on the Net and in particular the success of MP3.com which floated in the US last week and is now valued at around US$3-4 billion.

The deal, which is expected to raise over AUS$10 million, is yet to be approved by shareholders but announcements are expected within the next few weeks.

Sprint, which started out as a traditional software distribution business back in 1993, also owns Ozhosting.com.au an e-commerce and Web hosting service, and Sprintweb.com.au, a Web design business.

However, it is the MP3.com.au site, which Richfield sees as having the most potential according to Sprint's managing director and co-founder Domenic Carosa.

MP3.com.au to be launched in September, will aim to become the biggest free music site in Australia, according to Carosa. The local site is expected to be linked to the US site, which provides music from some 11,000 artists.

Carosa said the Australian MP3 site was a major focus of the deal and that recent success in the US reaffirms for Richfield the potential of music on the Web.



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