LONDON/TORONTO, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Copper and gold miner
SolGold Plc has launched a process to replace Chief
Executive Nick Mather after nearly half of shareholders,
including BHP and Newcrest, opposed his reappointment to the
board, said an industry source familiar with the matter.
London-listed SolGold is seeking to mend fences with BHP
and Newcrest following a dispute over
funding for the miner's mammoth Ecuador copper-gold project.
Nearly half, or 44.7%, of shares eligible to be cast at last
month's annual meeting were voted against reappointing Mather to
The source said the company has started working on a
succession plan to repair relations with shareholders. One
SolGold shareholder said it was expected the company would
announce a succession plan before summer.
SolGold declined to comment on succession planning in a
statement to Reuters.
The miner last year hired investment bank Citi as a defence
adviser, and the potential of its undeveloped Alpala project
raised speculation the company could become a takeover target.
Copper is in high demand for use in renewable energy
and electric vehicles and new deposits are rare and increasingly
difficult to recover, while gold prices are hovering
around record highs.
In the same statement to Reuters, SolGold said it is focused
on building value in the stock via exploration and leverage to
rising commodity prices while continuing to de-risk the Alpala
The miner has appointed four new non-executive directors in
recent months, part of efforts to improve governance.
No. 2 investor Newcrest opposed a $100 million financing
package SolGold agreed last May with Franco-Nevada. An
option to upsize the financing by $50 million lapsed on Jan. 11.
SolGold needs to secure more than $2.5 billion to complete
Alpala, expected to start production in 2025.
(Reporting by Jeff Lewis in Toronto and Clara Denina in London
Editing by Amran Abocar and Matthew Lewis)