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Griffiths Energy's Africa project on, despite chairman's tragic death

Brad Griffiths' body was recovered on Saturday from the waters of Lake Joseph, near Parry Sound, Ont. — five days after he was seen in the water.

Edward Regan/The Globe and Mail

A Calgary-based oil and gas company expanding in east Africa says it will go ahead with its venture despite the unexpected death of its chairman in a boating accident.

Brad Griffiths' body was recovered on Saturday from the waters of Lake Joseph, near Parry Sound, Ont. - five days after he was seen in the water, apparently without a life jacket.

The operations of Griffiths Energy International Inc., the company run by the 55-year-old Toronto businessman, will not be significantly affected by his death, a company spokesman said Sunday.

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Before Mr. Griffiths disappeared last week, he was working to put his company at the forefront of the emerging oil and gas industry in the African country of Chad, where it been granted two land concessions.

"It's almost tragic that he's not going to get a chance to see his vision come to fruition," said Jay Park, a lawyer and spokesman for the company.

The company does not expect that expansion to be affected by the death because they had already made plans to pass on responsibility for implementing the nuts and bolts of Mr. Griffiths' vision when he went missing last Monday.

"Many of us are inspired to do it all the more because Brad saw that as his vision and we intend to honour and respect it," added Mr. Park.

The company appointed new executives, led by oil and gas veteran Gary Guidry, on Thursday while Mr. Griffiths was still missing.

Mr. Griffiths was a member of the board of Mongolian Minerals Corp. and was also involved with Holle Potash Corp.

"They're all continuing as per his plan and they'll be driven forward by those individuals and the management and the board of each individual company," said Frank Bellotti, spokesman for the Griffiths' family.

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His family will continue to be involved in the operation of the three companies, that will be going public in the fall, said Mr. Bellotti.

Police and private divers hired by the family searched for days the waters and shoreline around the areas where Griffiths went missing.

Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police said Sunday they are still waiting to hear back from the coroner about when an autopsy will be conducted.

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