Shareholders’ clash will not affect logistics – Goldfields CEO
…says dismissal of Country Manager part of positive changeEven as shareholders of Guyana Goldfields call for a shake-up in the company and a crucial meeting looms to decide the way forward, the company’s Chief Executive Officer is assuring that operations will remain untouched.This is according to CEO Scott Caldwell, who was speaking to the media during a tour of the facilities on Thursday. According to Caldwell, they are making a conscious effort to keep the day-to-day operations at Aurora Gold mines insulated.“We are working very, very hard to keep the day-to-day activities, the production of gold separate from the proxy battle, Shareholders battle or discussions. And it’s ultimately up to the shareholders but it should not influence these operations at all,” he said.Caldwell was also asked about the decision to dismiss former Country Manager, Violet Smith. While Caldwell noted that the company will speak about it in the coming days, he did relate that despite Smith’s longevity with the company it was time for a change.“The Country Manager and (founder of the company) Mr Patrick Sheridan, were involved in the company for 20 plus years. And (she) did some fine work during that time. But it was time for some change. And we think it’s a positive change.”Guyana Goldfields remains the largest gold producer in Guyana, with over 150,000 ounces last year. However, in January a group of shareholders had called for a shake-up in the company’s leadership over concerns about the operation.It was noted in a statement on January 11 that the concerned shareholders had formally written the Toronto Stock Exchange, asking the body to monitor any proposal made by Guyana Goldfields for signs of entrenchment, shareholder dilution or attempts to structure around regulatory shareholder approval requirements.According to the missive, the Guyana Goldfields has lost over CAD$1 billion in value since 2016 because of the Board’s operational failures, irresponsible actions and risky decisions.To add insult to injury, it added, while shareholders have lost over 80 per cent of their investment since 2016, the Board has continued to reward itself handsomely and has offered no plan to turn things around.In contrast, the concerned shareholders said their nominees are putting forward a clear strategy to optimise operational performance, repair the relationship with the Government of Guyana, and turn the share price around and execute a value-maximising transaction.These matters are expected to come to a head at a special company meeting scheduled for May 22, next month.In its last performance review – 2018 third quarter operational and financial results in October – Guyana Goldfields reported its gold production guidance was revised downward to 150,000–55,000 ounces as grades have not rebounded as quickly as anticipated in the fourth quarter.This represents a reduction from the previous range of 175,000-185,000 ounces of gold. Consequently, cost of sales was also revised to US$1030-US$1055 per ounce and all-in sustaining costs of US$1025-US$1050 per ounce, and cash cost (before royalty) of US$660-US$685 per ounce for the year.Meanwhile, back in August of last year, the Canadian mining company confirmed its intentions of laying off approximately 80 local workers in a bid to consolidate its operations.Aurora Gold Mines’ Public Relations Officer, Leon Roberts, had explained that the company would be focusing its operations at Aurora, located in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), thus cutting back operations from its Greenfield prospect, also located in Region Seven.