Richard Nemis has resigned as president and CEO of Noront Resources as part of a compromise with dissident shareholders led by Rosseau Asset Management.
The junior mining company made the high-grade Eagle One copper-nickel-platinum group elements discovery in the McFauld’s Lake area in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario last year.
One day before a dramatic proxy contest at Noront Resources’ annual shareholders’ meeting, the two sides agreed to a board comprised of three Rosseau nominees, one current Noront director, and two other directors. Rosseau nominee Joseph Hamilton, a former director of Aurelian Resources, and current Noront director Paul Parisotto will serve as co-CEOs until a permanent president and CEO is appointed.
As part of the agreement, Nemis will serve as the company’s chairman emeritus for life.
Two other former Aurelian Resources executives – Patrick Anderson, who served as president and CEO of the company, and Keith McKay, former chief financial officer – have joined Hamilton on the new board. Other board members elected include Darren Blasutti, senior vice-president, corporate development, Barrick Gold, and Lorie Waisberg, a director of Chemtrade Logistics and Metalex Ventures.
“Noront will have a balanced joint slate of directors representing the interests of all shareholders,” said Parisotto, the only holdover from the previous Noront board. “It is important to know that the company’s management team, which was largely responsible for our discoveries in the Ring of Fire, will remain with Noront.”
“We are confident that the board proposed for election… will bring together the expertise Noront requires for the next stage of its development,” said Warren Irwin, president and chief investment officer of Rosseau Asset Management.”
Rosseau, a Toronto-based hedge fund company, controls 9.2 per cent of Noront shares. Other major shareholders include Sprott Asset Management (9.9 per cent) and Pinetree Capital (7.9 per cent).
Noront holds 486 sq. km. of land in the “Ring of Fire” outright and has joint ventures on another 680 sq. km.
A scoping study on Eagle One released by Noront prior to the agreement provided a positive assessment for an underground mine, initially shipping 1,000 tonnes of ore per day to a Sudbury-area mill, to be followed by on-site processing of approximately 1,500 tonnes of ore per day.
An all-weather road from Nakina would have to be constructed before mining could start.
Indicated resources at Eagle One total 1.8 million tonnes grading 1.96% nickel, 1.18% copper, 1.12 grams platinum per tonne, 3.91 grams palladium, 0.15 gram gold and 3.81 grams silver. The deposit also holds 1.1 million inferred tonnes averaging 2.39% nickel, 1.27% copper, 1.37 grams platinum, 4.5 grams palladium, 0.13 gram gold and 4.21 grams silver.
In a statement, Nemis said, “what really excites us is the fact that it brings down the economic thresholds for the other copper-nickel deposits and chromite deposits that we have discovered over the past 14 months.
“While recent worldwide market turmoil…and (a) predicted pending worldwide recession have decimated the public markets, Noront may be one of the few junior mining stocks still holding some of its recent price gains because of its important mineral discoveries.”
Though disappointed with Noront’s depressed share price, Nemis expressed confidence that that company’s “true value will be better reflected in the future when the markets return to normal levels.”
He pointed out that the company is working to further advance other potentially viable copper-nickel-PGE and chromium properties in the McFauld’s Lake area.
“These projects will continue to create additional jobs for Northern Ontario residents and the potential for large tax revenues,” he said.