The long running Minera IRL saga is gradually being resolved. The latest move is the resignation of Eric Olson as Chief Operating Officer and the appointment of Francis O’Kelly to the Board as a non-executive director. To an outsider this may not mean very much, but Olson was very much a member of the group, led by Daryl Hodges, which dissident shareholders felt had usurped control of the company following the untimely death of former CEO Courtney Chamberlain. O’Kelly was a long-time consultant to the company and was close to Chamberlain for many years, and has an understanding of the company’s assets and potential which few others will have possessed.
I should declare a personal interest here – I have known Frank O’Kelly off and on for many years – we were at the Royal School of Mines together back in the 1960s studying mining engineering, and I rate him as a personal friend. He has a strong independent opinion on how Minera IRL should progress and as a consultant was not always in agreement with some of Chamberlain’s executive decisions, but was also strongly against many of the moves proposed by the Hodges controlled board following Chamberlain’s death.
The new Minera IRL Board comprises therefore Julian Bavin, Francis O’Kelly (both of whom were on the alternate slate of directors which was put up by dissident shareholders last year) together with Robin Fryer and Douglas Jones from the existing board
The Peruvian operating end of the company continues to be run, as it has been all along, by Diego Benavides – the founder of Minera IRL along with Chamberlain. But now relations between the parent company and its Peruvian operating subsidiary should be in harmony rather than in conflict and it can move ahead with the securing of its financing through Peruvian state-controlled bank COFIDE and subsequent development of its flagship Ollachea gold project.
During the conflicts over Minera IRL’s direction and management the company was suspended from the Toronto Stock Exchange and it has since delisted from London’s AIM market. Currently it intends to maintain its listing on the Lima Stock Exchange and reports from Peru suggest it hopes to relist in Toronto in April.
Hopefully all the dissension and unpleasantness of the past several year is now behind it with a settled board of directors enabling it to proceed with its plans to develop its Ollachea mine while retaining some admittedly diminishing cashflow from its existing Corihuarmi gold mine, also in Peru which is pretty much at the end of its operating life. Corihuarmi produced 23,917 ounces of gold in 2015.