It’s the end of an era on Vancouver’s Howe Street, the on-again off-again junior mining capital of the world, with the resignation of J. Francis “Frank” Callaghan as CEO of Barkerville Gold Mines, a role he had occupied since 1991.
Mining engineer and current Barkerville Chairman Norman Anderson has been appointed temporary CEO of the BC explorer and small scale gold miner, while the company has already started its search for a full time replacement.
Callaghan, a well-liked and larger-than-life stock promoter, celebrated a long list of accomplishments with Barkerville in today’s news release. Despite this, Callaghan has often drawn criticism for excessive G&A expenses and Barkerville’s rocky share price performance, and let’s not forget the company has rolled back its shares 10:1 twice since the year 2000.
Barkerville also announced that it has received a one-month loan extension from creditor 2176423 Ontario Ltd., which loaned Barkerville $15 million in fall 2013. 2176423 Ontario Ltd. is a private investment company controlled by billionaire Eric Sprott, 69, founder of the Sprott Inc. group of natural resources and precious metals finance companies.
It is now in Mr. Sprott’s interest for the shares of Barkerville Gold Mines to languish, so he can convert his facility to equity at the lowest possible valuation for Barkerville. There is no telling this will happen, as Barkerville’s story is well known throughout the investment community and investors may start bidding up its shares in the post-Callaghan era, potentially making way for a new equity financing to repay Mr. Sprott. As well, the respected financier, Sprott, may elect to take mercy on the existing shareholders.
Barkerville’s shares were down 4.3% during the first 95 minutes of trading Tuesday, last at $0.45, giving the company a market capitalization of approximately $60 million.
Mr. Callaghan will remain a director of the company.