The latest Board changes at Minera IRL, announced by recently appointed chairman Frank O’Kelly, will have erased any lingering ill-feeling resulting from the contentious days when Board control was taken by Daryl Hodges following the untimely death of company founder, Courtney Chamberlain. For those unfamiliar with events, Hodges was perhaps too forceful a character and appeared to be leading the company down a path contrary to that deemed propitious by the company’s Peruvian operating subsidiary led by co-founder Diego Benavides, and by the bulk of the company’s shareholders. Hodges was voted out by a huge majority in a subsequent shareholders’ meeting, but the rest of the Board that remained were mostly Hodges appointees and there was a strong feeling that he was still pulling their strings. But gradually things and personnel have changed, albeit not before some highly personalised attacks aimed at Benavides originally initiated by Hodges.
Gradually the Board has changed, firstly with the appointment of Julian Bavin, formerly with Rio Tinto, and then O’Kelly, a long time consultant to the company and to Courtney Chamberlain, but dropped by Hodges. O’Kelly has now become Chairman of the Board, and the last remaining Directors from the Hodges era, Robin Fryer and Doug Jones, have stepped down now that two new Directors have been appointed.
Commenting on the resignations, O’Kelly said “that the departing directors had notified the Board some while ago of their intention to stand down once replacement Directors had been nominated and the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (press release dated February 5th, 2016) had been substantially accomplished. The new Minera IRL directors are Gerardo Perez and George Bee.”
In the statement, O’Kelly commented that he “appreciated the dedication and professionalism of the two departing directors who had been subjected to intense pressures during the past tumultuous year of internal dispute within the company. Throughout that period they both contributed their time and effort well beyond what is normally expected of non-executive Directors. Both have agreed to provide consulting services up to the 2016 AGM in order to consolidate the transition and assist with the Company’s endeavours to re-establish share trading and advance the flagship gold project at Ollachea.”
Doug Jones has been the longest standing of the Directorate pre-dating the Hodges era, while Robin Fryer was a Hodges appointee. In conversation with Fryer he had appeared to be a reasonable character, while Jones had been particularly important to the company in bringing to it his extensive geological expertise. However the Hodges era had left a degree of acrimony behind which the two presumably felt had compromised their continuing positions on the Board.
So now Minera IRL has a Board which is pretty well set to advance the development of its flagship Ollachea gold mine in Peru. The project had looked a robust one, even ahead of the big rise in the gold price this year, which will only enhance its prospects. Much of the finance for the project is already in place through Peruvian bank Cofide. The Board will continue its progress in putting in place the necessary arrangements to resurrect its quote on the Toronto Stock Exchange and will look at regenerating its quote on London’s AIM market too.
Hopefully the days of dissent which had been disastrous for its shareholders are now behind it and Minera IRL will progress towards building and operating its second gold mine. (it currently operates the Corihuarmi gold mine, also in Peru, but this is close to the end of its life, but is still generating some useful cashflow.