Golden Predator’s resigned directors return to the fold

Two of Golden Predator's erstwhile directors and its chief executive officer are back at the company's helm after abruptly resigning last month.

Two of Golden Predator’s erstwhile directors and its chief executive officer are back at the company’s helm after abruptly resigning last month.

The move comes as the mining company and its majority shareholder, Till Capital, agreed to go separate ways as part of Till’s plan to get out of investments in resource companies.

Former premier Dennis Fentie and Greg Hayes have rejoined the board of directors and have reappointed Janet Lee-Sheriff as CEO. The remaining board members, including William Sheriff and former premier Piers McDonald, are expected to resume their positions following a vote on Friday.

Golden Predator’s board and officers resigned on Aug. 20 after receiving notice from Till Capital that it had nominated five of its own directors to sit on the board.

After their resignation, Lee-Sheriff said, they began to negotiate a separation with Till Capital. As part of their agreement, William Sheriff resigned as chairman and CEO of Till, taking 22 per cent of the company’s shares in Golden Predator instead of a cash settlement. Sheriff has also been given two assignable options to purchase the rest of Till’s shares.

Golden Predator has also agreed to repay a $3.7-million loan to Till in cash instead of shares, and has reacquired royalties previously held by Till.

The agreement will sever most ties between the two companies.

“Till is not involved in (Golden Predator), other than being a shareholder of reduced percentage,” said Lee-Sheriff.

She said it’s important that the company’s board include Yukoners, which Till’s directors are not.

“The board from Golden Predator believes in the Yukon and believes not only in the mineral wealth of the Yukon but also in keeping the wealth local as much as possible,” she said.

But William Lupien, Till’s interim CEO, said his company never had any intention of taking over Golden Predator, despite nominating five of its own directors to the mining company’s board. He said the plan all along was to negotiate a separation, and having some of Till’s directors sit on Golden Predator’s board could have made that process easier. He said he never thought Golden Predator’s directors would resign.

“That’s not a move I expected,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is run a mining company.”

Lupien said Till has been taking resource assets out of its portfolio for months, so it can focus more closely on insurance and reinsurance businesses.

“Resource-type assets are not appropriate assets to have in our portfolio,” he explained.

Till had been trying to negotiate a separation with Golden Predator before it decided to nominate its own directors to the mining company’s board, Lupien said, but it “hadn’t been able to.”

Lupien insisted that the split with William Sheriff, Till’s outgoing CEO, is amicable and that Sheriff was always open to negotiations. He said resistance came from other Golden Predator board members who “weren’t willing to do what (Sheriff) wanted them to do.”

He also said he believes Golden Predator is a “fabulous investment” – just not for an insurance company.

Lee-Sheriff said Golden Predator will be looking for more financing in the future, but that reacquiring its royalties and shares puts the company in a good financial position.

“I truly believe that as disruptive as this may have been on us in the short term, it will strengthen the company,” she said.

Golden Predator owns the Brewery Creek gold project near Dawson City, which is currently preparing a proposal for the executive committee of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. It also has other exploration holdings in the territory.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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