Highlands directors ‘stay’


HIGHLANDS Pacific Ltd shareholders have rejected PanAust’s attempt to remove three of its five directors and install three PanAust nominees, according to Highlands.
The company in a statement said Highlands’ shareholders yesterday voted overwhelmingly in support of the existing Highlands directors at a special meeting in Port Moresby.
PanAust, which is wholly-owned by the Chinese government’s Guangdong Rising Asset Management Co Ltd, holds a 14 per cent shareholding in Highlands.
It is Highlands’ joint venture partner in the Frieda River copper gold project in West Sepik.
PanAust requisitioned the special meeting in February following a dispute with Highlands over the scale and funding of the Frieda River project.
Highlands had argued that PanAust’s proposed development plan for Frieda River was sub-optimal and that the PanAust feasibility study for the project was incomplete.
According to Highlands, under the joint venture agreement, PanAust was required to cover all development costs of the project until the feasibility study was completed and an application lodged for a special mining lease.
PanAust lodged the application last June.
The dispute is now expected to proceed to mediation for resolution.
“This is an excellent result for Highlands’ shareholders,” company chairman Ron Douglas said.
“We can now move forward to implement our plans to grow the company and focus on generating returns for all our shareholders.”
At the Highlands Pacific annual general meeting held before the special meeting yesterday, Douglas told shareholders that Highlands had great potential and an exciting future.
“I joined the company because the board had acknowledged that it needed to implement generational change, introduce new thinking and new vision to drive improved returns in the future.
“The board has already started that process and my appointment was indeed a part of that change.  I want to grow this company and make it a great success, and that’s what we intend to do,” he said.

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