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Paulson & Co., one of the world’s most influential precious-metals investors, is considering forcing a shareholder vote to replace Detour Gold Corp.’s existing board of directors, after the junior gold producer said its best option is pushing ahead with a controversial mine expansion rather than putting the company up for sale.

In late April, shares in Detour plunged 30 per cent in a single session, its worst one-day performance as a public company, after it announced an expansion of its flagship Ontario gold mine would likely entail materially higher costs than expected. Detour also announced it has been having trouble securing necessary permits after clashing with a First Nations group.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Michael Kenyon, Detour’s interim chief executive officer, said the junior will consider any “bona fide” takeover offers, but stopped short of declaring an outright sale process.

“It’s the most anodyne … statement I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Marcelo Kim, partner with Paulson & Co., which owns a 5.4-per-cent stake in Detour. Founded by brash hedge-fund manager John Paulson, New-York-based Paulson & Co., has US$9-billion under management.

In a letter sent to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Kim wrote that Detour’s “failure to announce a strategic review, including a sale of the company, is a clear indication of an entrenched board looking out for its own interests, and not those of its shareholders.”

Mr. Kim said that Detour’s directors are more interested in continuing their cushy lifestyle of steady, salaried employment, rather than looking out for shareholders, “which leaves us with no choice but to explore replacing the board.”

Since Paulson & Co. has more than a 5-per-cent stake in Detour, it can call for a special shareholder meeting to vote on the matter.

When presented with Mr. Kim’s remarks, Detour’s CEO, Mr. Kenyon, declined comment. A company spokesperson, Ian Robertson, also declined comment, beyond saying that Paulson & Co. “is a shareholder who has a point of view, which is fine,” but that Detour’s focus is executing on the mine plan.

On Wednesday evening, Detour released more details on its expansion plan for its Detour Lake mine, which started production in 2013. The company predicts higher production, averaging 614,000 ounces of gold annually for the next 12 years, and 725,000 ounces a year for the remaining 10 years of the mine. Mining costs are projected to be 10 per cent higher than predicted in a similar update in 2017. In the conference call, chief operating officer Frazer Bourchier cited inflationary pressures such as the increasing price of consumables and construction trucks.

Mr. Bourchier also reiterated the company is still having difficulty engaging with the Moose Cree First Nation on the issue of permitting, but that dialogue between the two parties is ongoing.

After holding the stock for eight years and participating in multiple capital raises for the company, Mr. Kim says Paulson & Co. has reached its “breaking point” with Detour, and that now is the time for someone else to take over the miner.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that a number of other institutional shareholders, including Franklin Templeton, Mackenzie Investments and Tocqueville Asset Management, were also pushing for a sale of Detour.

Despite its setbacks, the Detour Lake mine is considered a coveted asset with rich reserves in one of the most stable and mining-friendly jurisdictions on Earth.

Shares in Detour rose by 3.3 per cent to close at $11.94 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday but are still about 20 per cent below the level reached in April.

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