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BlackRock turns up heat on boards as AGM season gets going

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Author of the article: Reuters Ross Kerber and Simon Jessop BOSTON/LONDON — BlackRock voted against more company directors and backed more shareholder resolutions in the first quarter than a year ago, as the world’s biggest asset manager looks to push boards to do more on climate and other sustainability issues. The information from the $9…

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Reuters

Reuters

Ross Kerber and Simon Jessop

BOSTON/LONDON — BlackRock voted against more company directors and backed more shareholder resolutions in the first quarter than a year ago, as the world’s biggest asset manager looks to push boards to do more on climate and other sustainability issues.

The information from the $9 trillion New York-based money manager in a report to be released on Wednesday helps to explain what is shaping up to be a tough shareholder voting season at major corporations this spring.

Just on Tuesday, investors rejected the pay of executives at GE Corp, for instance, and last week gave a record level of support, 81%, to a resolution calling for a report on plastics pollution at Dupont.

Both votes took place after the first-quarter period covered by BlackRock’s report, which did not give complete company-by-company voting data. Still, its contents showed BlackRock taking a more aggressive stance under Sandy Boss, the company’s London-based global head of investment stewardship since 2020.

“We are accelerating the pace of our stewardship activities; resulting in more engagement and more voting, reflecting heightened expectations, which … are just a function of the urgency of some of the issues,” Boss said in an interview.

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Boss declined to comment on votes since April or upcoming ones. Activists have urged BlackRock and other top investors to push their portfolio companies more after years of fund manager votes that rubber-stamped management wishes.

Among other things, BlackRock said it had backed three-quarters of the environment and social-focused resolutions filed by shareholders during the first quarter, including eight environment-focused votes.

In the same period last year, BlackRock’s support for such resolutions was less than 10%, the report showed, including its opposition to all three environmental resolutions on which it cast ballots.

Of the 2,600 shareholder meetings held in the period, at which BlackRock voted on more than 21,000 proposals, the money manager said it had voted against management on one or more proposals at 35% of meetings, up from 30% a year earlier.

BlackRock said it did not back directors or director-related proposals 12% of the time, up from 9% a year ago. Reasons included a lack of board diversity, misaligned pay and a lack of independence.

Last year, BlackRock put 191 companies “on watch” for potential voting action in 2021 if they failed to make significant progress on managing and disclosing climate-related risks.

For the first quarter, BlackRock said it voted against 53 directors and 47 companies over climate issues, closing in on the 2020 full-year total of 64 directors and 69 companies. (Reporting by Simon Jessop. Editing by Mark Potter)

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St. James Gold up 23% on financing news

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St. James Gold Corp. [LORD-TSXV; LRDJF-OTCQB; BVU3-FSE] said Thursday May 13 that it has struck a deal with an underwriting syndicate in connection with a brokered private placement of up to 2.17 million units at $3 per unit, which is expected to raise $6.51 million. Each unit will be comprised of one common share and…

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St. James Gold Corp. [LORD-TSXV; LRDJF-OTCQB; BVU3-FSE] said Thursday May 13 that it has struck a deal with an underwriting syndicate in connection with a brokered private placement of up to 2.17 million units at $3 per unit, which is expected to raise $6.51 million.

Each unit will be comprised of one common share and one common share purchase warrant. Each warrant is good to buy one additional share at an exercise price of $3.90 for three years.

The company granted the underwriters the option to increase the size of the offering by up to 500,000 units, potentially raising additional proceeds of $1.5 million.

St. James shares jumped 23.2% or 82 cents to $4.35. Shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $6.50 and $0.055.

St James holds an option to acquire a 100% interest in 28 claims covering 1,730 acres in the Gander district in north-central Newfoundland adjacent to New Found Gold Corp.’s [NFG-TSXV] Queensway Project, and an option to acquire a 100% interest in 1,730 acres in central Newfoundland adjacent to Marathon Gold Corp.‘s [MOZ-TSX; OTC-MGDPF] Valentine Lake Gold Project.

Back in April, 2020, Marathon released a pre-feasibility study for the Valentine Lake Project. It envisages an open pit mining operation over a 12-year mine life with average gold production of 175,000 oz/year in years 1-9 from the processing of high-grade mill feed.

St James recently signed an option and joint venture agreement to acquire up to a 100% interest in the Florin gold project covering nearly 22,000 contiguous acres in the historic Tintina gold belt in the Yukon, subject to regulatory approval.

The company intends to use net proceeds of the offering to close the initial payment on the Florin project acquisition. Proceeds will also be used to finance drilling on the Florin gold project and Newfoundland properties.

The Florin Gold project contains an inferred resource of 2.47 million oz gold contained in 171 million tonnes of 0.45 g/t with a cut-off of 0.30 g/t at a gold price of US$1,650/oz.

The Florin property is 55 km northwest of Mayo and 130 km east of Dawson City.


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Blue Lagoon drills 0.98 metres of 36.7 g/t gold at Dome Mountain, British Columbia

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Blue Lagoon Resources Inc. [BLLG-CSE; BLAGF-OTCQB; 7BL-FSE] provided a drilling update and results from the 2021 phase 1 drill program on its Dome Mountain gold project, an all-year accessible property located a short 50-minute drive from Smithers, British Columbia, which holds both an Environmental Management Act (EMA) permit and a mining permit providing for up…

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Blue Lagoon Resources Inc. [BLLG-CSE; BLAGF-OTCQB; 7BL-FSE] provided a drilling update and results from the 2021 phase 1 drill program on its Dome Mountain gold project, an all-year accessible property located a short 50-minute drive from Smithers, British Columbia, which holds both an Environmental Management Act (EMA) permit and a mining permit providing for up to 75,000 tonnes production annually.

Highlights included hole DM-21-164 that returned 36.7 g/t gold and 580 g/t silver over 0.98 metres. DM-21-165 returned 11.08 g/t gold and 34.39 g/t silver over 4.13 metres, including 22.80 g/t gold and 42 g/t silver over 1.37 metres. DM-21-168 returned 25.8 g/t gold and 74 g/t silver over 1.45 metres.

“We are very pleased with the results to date from our 2021, 20,000-meter drill program, which continue to confirm the hi-grade nature of the Boulder Vein,” said Rana Vig, President and CEO of Blue Lagoon Resources. “With the first phase now complete with 7176.5 meters drilled in 31 holes, we’re getting ready to recommence drilling once all the snow melts and break-up is complete with ground conditions becoming more favorable for our drill crew to mobilize,” he added.

The first phase of this drill program at Dome Mountain also included three drill holes targeting the Forks Vein zone, located 500 metres south of the Boulder Vein. The Forks Vein zone is a shallow dipping structure to the north.

Hole DM-21-154  returned  3.0 metres of 0.95 g/t gold and 14.5    g/t silver and 3.0 metres of      8.3 g/t gold and 14.5 g/t silver, including 1.5 metres of 15.4 g/t gold and 26 g/t silver. DM-21-156 returned 1.7 metres of 4.02 g/t gold and 21 g/t silver.

The mineralized structure is shallow dipping to the northeast and remains open along strike and down dip. Holes 154 and 156 hit the down-dip segment 150 metres from historic workings where a shaft and drifting encountered the mineralized zone at 35 metres depth.

“These holes targeted mineralization identified from holes drilled in the 1980s and confirmed the high-grade nature and trend of the mineralized Forks Structure,” said William Cronk, Chief Geologist for Blue Lagoon. “Further drilling will test for continued mineralization to the NE along the down dip trend with a goal to follow this mineralized structure to its intersection with the Boulder Vein System,” he added.


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Santacruz produces 706,978 oz AgEq in Q1 in Mexico

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Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. [SCZ-TSXV; 1SZ-FSE] reported operating results from the 100%-owned Zimapan Mine located in Zimapan, Hidalgo, Mexico, and the 100%-optioned Rosario Project in Charcas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, for the first quarter 2021. The company is not including production from the Veta Grande Project in this report as operations at Veta Grande were…

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Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. [SCZ-TSXV; 1SZ-FSE] reported operating results from the 100%-owned Zimapan Mine located in Zimapan, Hidalgo, Mexico, and the 100%-optioned Rosario Project in Charcas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, for the first quarter 2021. The company is not including production from the Veta Grande Project in this report as operations at Veta Grande were suspended during Q1 2020.

Production highlights include silver equivalent ounces produced 706,978 in Q1. Silver head grades increase 9.4% at Zimapan Mine as compared to Q1 and Q4 2020. There was increased tonnage throughput from Lomo del Toro zone of the Zimapan Mine from 4,000 during January and February to 6,000 tonnes for the month of March. A new mining method introduced in late March at Rosario that is expected to significantly reduce costs by less handling of waste material

Carlos Silva, Santacruz’s COO, stated, “As we keep advancing our workings deeper into the higher-grade Lomo del Toro manto and increase the tonnage mined from this zone, we are seeing a corresponding increase in head grades at our Zimapan Mine. We are progressing well towards our objective of reaching 15,000 tonnes per month of mill feed from this higher-grade area by the end of the second quarter.” Silva continued, “We expect further efficiencies at our Rosario Project during Q2 as a result of a revised mining plan which results in less waste material being handled. These very encouraging improvements were unfortunately partially offset by an unstable power supply from Mexico’s Comision Federal de Electricidad (Mexico’s power supply company). The unstable power supply impacted the mill throughput at both mines in February as motors for the ball mills were damaged. The matter was resolved in early March but mill throughput was materially reduced for eight days.”

The company continues to take all appropriate measures to prevent COVID-19 among the work force and local communities and to monitor the effectiveness of these measures in mitigating any potential impact on business activities. The company’s actions have been successful to date and the pandemic has not had any material impact on the business.


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