Large Copper/Moly porphyry in the prolific copper belt of Chile

Chile copper porphyry belt contains highest concentration of copper in the world

Message: Major shakeup at PBX Ventures: Nominees of former president take control

At one level it’s more of the same at Vancouver-based International PBX Ventures, but at another level there has been a major shakeup at the company engaged in the “acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in Chile.”

The major shakeup occurred Thursday when shareholders at the company, which has a market cap of less than $10-million, elected a new board at its annual meeting. The new board received about twice as many votes as the former board. The dissidents had the support of ISS, a proxy advisory firm, which spoke about “deficiencies in the board’s governance structure … as well as the company’s operating and share price underperformance.” China’s Jintian Copper is the company’s largest shareholder.

The person who assembled the new board was Terry Lynch, at one time PBX’s president. Indeed Lynch was president until about a month ago when he was removed — though he continued as a board member. George Sookochoff, the company’s chief executive at the time, became interim president and the company went searching for a new president. Sookochoff had been chief executive for four years.

Two weeks back, Sookochoff resigned as president and chief executive “effective immediately.” Jeremy Caddy, who was appointed a director earlier this year was appointed interim president — with the board indicating that it would start searching for a new president. Sookochoff remained as a director.

But not any more.

One week back Lynch, the concerned shareholder, issued a circular plus a letter to PBX’s shareholders, urging them to support his five nominees: himself (the new president and chief executive);, Ian Pirie (the chairman); Peter Kent; Dan Gosselin and Zhanglianh Lou. “With the newly constituted, stronger board in place, I am confident that we can stop the rapid erosion in shareholder value and restore meaningful returns to investors,” he wrote.

Thursday’s meeting was the second that PBX has held in the past three months. In August, shareholders at a Special General Meeting approved the joint Venture Option Agreement with OZ Minerals Limited on its copper molybdenum property in Chile. Under that deal, OZ Minerals could obtain a 90% stake in the project provided it made cash payments of $90-million.

”We now look forward to working with OZ Minerals in further advancing the Copaquire copper molybdenum project with its potential to become a significant operating mine in Chile,” said chief executive Sookochoff.

Thursday, Lynch wasn’t as complimentary. “The vote shows how passionate our shareholders are about the value of our assets, and how strongly they feel about the previous management’s poor record in executing a coherent business plan.” Lynch added the vote showed that “investors clearly did not trust the previous management to actually see the end of OZ Mineral’s option to buy 90% of our flagship copper and molybdenum mine in Chile for $90-million.”


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