Holmes steps down as OceanaGold CEO, COO Sullivan now acting chief

by Philippine Resources - September 08, 2021

Photo Credit: OceanaGold

OceanaGold Corporation advises that Mr. Michael Holmes has resigned as the President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Company, as well as from the Board of Directors, effective September 8, 2021. The Board has engaged a leading executive search firm to commence a global search for the Company’s next President and CEO. In recognition of leadership continuity, the Board has appointed Mr. Scott Sullivan who has recently joined the Company as Chief Operating Officer, to act as the Acting President and CEO of the Company.

Mr. Ian Reid, Chairman of the Board said “On behalf of the Board, I wish to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Michael for his service to the Company. Michael has had a long and valued career with OceanaGold, having joined the Company as Chief Operating Officer in July 2012. As President and CEO, he demonstrated tremendous resilience and commitment to the Company despite the challenges of an operating environment disrupted by the onset of a global pandemic.” 

Mr. Reid continued to say, “Under Michael’s leadership, the Company delivered on key growth milestones including mine life extensions of the Macraes operation, advancement of the Waihi District projects and the Haile Underground. Most significantly, the renewal of the Didipio FTAA wouldn’t have been possible without Michael’s tenacious and focused leadership. The achievement of this strategic objective is expected to generate strong free cash flows for our shareholders while continuing our legacy as a responsible, multinational gold miner.”

Mr. Holmes said, “It has been a privilege to serve the Company over the past 9 years. I am proud to have led a team of passionate and dedicated mining professionals who are committed to responsible mining and best ESG practices while setting up the business to deliver long-term value for shareholders. Whilst it was a difficult decision to leave OceanaGold, I am very proud of what we have achieved and more importantly in the significant value embedded in the business. I wish everyone all the best.”

Mr. Scott Sullivan is a mining executive with over 30 years of broad-based industry experience spanning Australia, New Guinea, Africa and North America. More specifically, he has diversified experience in strategic planning of mining operations and smelters, project development and commissioning, mine optimisation, restructuring and expansion, sustainability and government relations. Prior to joining OceanaGold, Mr. Sullivan was CEO of Paladin Energy Ltd, and prior to that, General Manager of Newcrest’s Telfer Gold Mine, CEO of Attila Resources (now New Century Resources) and Managing Director of Minbos Resources. Mr. Sullivan is 2 also a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining with first class honours and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Mr. Paul Benson, who will succeed Mr. Reid as Chairman of the Board of the Company on October 1, expressed his appreciation for Mr. Holmes’ leadership, particularly through the challenges posed by COVID-19. He said, “I look forward to working with Scott Sullivan in the Chief Operating Officer and Acting CEO roles. I have known Scott for over 30 years since we first worked together at the Renison Tin Mine in Tasmania. Scott is an exceptional mining engineer and has the skills and experience to drive OceanaGold’s operating performance to the next level. Our focus will continue to be on maximising the value of our existing operations while seeking new opportunities to drive profitable growth.”

The Company continues to make good progress with respect to the Didipio restart with current ramp-up schedule ahead of original estimates. The Company commenced the trucking of gold-copper concentrate as several shipments have arrived at the port and several more on the way. The Company continues the technical review and enhancements of the Haile Mine however, operational performance is tracking to achieve full year guidance. The New Zealand operations have recommenced full operations with ramp-up of the Martha Underground continuing.



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(Photo courtesy of Mr Jason Magdaong, OceanaGold Phils. Inc. - “Didipio Mine: The Renewal of the Philippines’ First FTAA”)   According to OceanaGold Corporation (Melbourne), the Philippines Court of Appeals in Manila had set last 18 September 2019 as the hearing date for the company's application for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. This is part of the company's appeal against the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Court ruling of denying OceanaGold Phils. Inc.’s (OGPI) request to end the unlawful restraint of operations.   The Provincial Local Government Units of Nueva Vizcaya (PLGU) has been impeding access to the mine site since 1 July 2019. This is in response to an unlawful directive from the Governor to 'restrain any operations of the company. OGPI points out that the regulatory authority over the Didipio Mine rests with the National Government. They also clarified that the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160) does not grant the power of authority to the Provincial Governor or any local government officer to restrain any aspect of the Didipio operation. [1] OGPI continues to work with the National Government to finalise the renewal of their Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) and remains open to the opportunity to engage with the Provincial government and work together in the best interest of the local stakeholders. The Company remains strongly committed to operating in accordance with the law and will always comply with its responsibility under its contract with the Philippine Government. [1] Mr Mick Wilkes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, "The Company has successfully developed and operated the Didipio Mine in the Philippines with a focus on delivering socio-economic benefits to local communities utilising international best practices and gaining a strong social license to operate. OceanaGold has established sound and collaborative relationships with regulatory authorities and stakeholders based on mutual respect." "While this process is taking some time, we will always operate in line with our values and commitment to responsible mining, and this means working transparently with the Philippine regulatory authorities to maximise the speed of the renewal. We are encouraged by the engagement with the government to date as we continue to work towards a mutually-acceptable path forward on the FTAA renewal." "I would like to recognise our world-class Philippine workforce of 1,500 workers who have remained focused on safety and preserving optionality at site during this uncertain time. We are proud to have positively contributed to the Barangay of Didipio, Province of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino and neighbouring communities since 2012." [1]   The Didipio Mine of OceanaGold Phils. is an underground gold and copper mine located across the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. The mine operation has received numerous awards such as two Presidential Awards for being the most environmentally and socially responsible mining operations in the Philippines. Overseas, the company was awarded the 1st ASEAN Mineral Award for best practices in sustainable development. OceanaGold's Didipio mine site (Philippines) is considered one of the safest gold mining operations in the world because for the past two years, the company has deployed state-of-the-art automated and digital underground mining technology. For the past years, OGPI’s Didipio project has been providing significant socio-economic assistance to the province of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. Other than providing jobs to 1,500 workers (97% are Filipinos, 59% are from local communities) the company also provides several thousands of additional livelihood opportunities and indirect jobs through partnerships with cooperatives and social development organisations. As an international company, OceanaGold Corporation is a mid-tier, high-margin, multinational gold producer with assets located in the Philippines, New Zealand and the United States. The Company's assets encompass the Didipio Gold-Copper Mine located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. In New Zealand, OceanaGold Corporation operates the high-grade Waihi Gold Mine, the Frasers mine, and the largest gold mine in the country at the Macraes Goldfield. [1] In the United States, the Company operates the Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina. The Haile Gold Mine is a top-tier, long-life, high-margin asset. 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Inc. - Retrieved from  - https://www.oceanagold.com/downloads/images/

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