Sunday 17 December 2017

Conroy Gold in turmoil as shareholder demands six directors go


Professor Richard Conroy retains a 22pc stake Photo: David Conachy
Professor Richard Conroy retains a 22pc stake Photo: David Conachy

Fearghal O'Connor

Gold explorer Conroy Gold & Natural Resources is facing board upheaval after its biggest shareholder moved to oust most of its directors.

Conroy's biggest shareholder Patrick O'Sullivan - who owns a 27pc stake - requested that the company hold an extraordinary general meeting so that six of the nine current board members can be replaced.

The company, founded by exploration industry veteran Professor Richard Conroy, is developing what would be Ireland's first commercial goldmine at Clontibret in Co Monaghan. It also owns prospects across the Border in Co Armagh and in Finland.

The Irish prospects are part of a 50km gold trend stretching along both sides of the Border. Conroy last year said it had found five new gold zones at Clontibret following a drilling programme and said that it believes it has a "multimillion ounce gold exploration target".

It has said that it is moving forward with an open pit gold mine at the Monaghan site after an independent study found it was technically and financially viable.

But some shareholders have grown impatient at what they believe is a very slow and cautious approach to developing the mine and bringing the gold to market, this newspaper understands.

The exploration company said in a statement that it had received a requisition for a general meeting to remove six directors, including the finance director. It had also been proposed to appoint three new directors to the board, including O'Sullivan.

Another proposed appointee is Gervaise Heddle, chief executive of Greatland Gold, which is part owned by Conroy Gold's third-biggest shareholder Metal Tiger.

It was not proposed that Richard Conroy, who is now chairman and who retains a 22pc stake in the company, would be replaced. Managing director Maureen Jones would also not be removed as part of the attempted board revamp, should it succeed. The board "is taking advice in relation to the requisition", it said in the statement.

In the six months to the end of last November the company posted a loss after tax of €176,680 and the working capital requirements were supported by ongoing loans from Professor Conroy, it said.

The company said that it was considering how best to fund its activities going forward "in light of the excellent exploration results" and said that it was considering a joint venture, a farm-out or equity funding.

Sunday Indo Business

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