Cashed up and fully focused on Cyprus say Chesterfield Resources
“…the largest holder of mineral rights in Cyprus is now much more focused on the strongest targets with the practical and intellectual assistance of major shareholder, FTSE 100 gold explorer Polymetal..”
When the founder of a company leaves the board followed by the decision-making executive chairman six months later, it is human nature to assume intrigue, perhaps some boardroom dissent.
But in the case of Chesterfield Resources the departures of Peter Damouni and Martin French were based on common-sensical reasons, their large shareholdings kept and not offloaded, networks maintained and advice still being dispensed.
Taking the reins of the Canada and Cyprus focused explorer are existing chief financial officer and now interim chief executive Ajay Kejriwal, and Paul Ensor who transitions from non-executive director to chair.
Both were brought onto the board in February 2021, and Ensor says that French had brought them into the company “because he had faith in us. So, I think he’s pretty comfortable with the fact that we’re now running things.”
Kejriwal and Ensor have already initiated strategic change based on realistic expectations and lean management.
The talk of listing the Canadian asset is now muted, and while the company is the largest holder of mineral rights in Cyprus it is now ‘much more focused’ on the strongest targets with the practical and intellectual assistance of major shareholder, FTSE 100 gold explorer Polymetal International which has endorsed the pair’s strategy.
The strategy is one of efficiency which includes drill sharing and shared IP in Cyprus and ‘third party transactions’ in Canada.
Kejriwal describes the Canadian asset – the Adeline project as something that has really got some pretty substantial potential. “It’s an asset that ultimately should belong in the hands of a major who can develop what theoretically, could be a very, very large resource. We’ve done a fair amount of field work since our ownership, but it’s going to require more money than we realistically will be able to deploy.”
“We have to be aware of our financial abilities, our technical abilities, our human capital that we can adopt. And we probably can’t do the project as much justice as it deserves. So the acknowledgement internally is that it’s time to introduce a third party, a third party with deeper pockets.”
The deeper pockets won’t come at the expense of shareholders, with Kejriwal emphasising the company doesn’t want to raise money and dilute shareholders. “Our ambition very much is not to raise capital this year, and hopefully into next year.”
As Ajay and Paul explain to Sarah Lowther, the cash runway is being extended via internal efficiencies. Board members have seen their remuneration halved, which includes Kejriwal even though his workload has doubled, and consultants and suppliers have been asked to shave their expenses in line with the board’s example.
Access the company’s 2022 Corporate Presentation
Read the research note from Laurentian Bank Securities
Follow the company on Twitter @ChesterfieldPlc
Chesterfield Resources is one of TMS Reach’s 12 mining companies to follow in 2022
The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company