Liberty Silver Corp., a junior miner recently ensnared in probes by the Ontario Securities Commission and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, hopes to rework its board in order to add more independent directors and enhance corporate governance.
The shakeup will also see the departure of blue-chip director Paul Haggis, the former head of OMERS and the recently appointed chairman of Canadian Pacific Railways, "due to increasing future commitments," the company said.
The board will be comprised of five directors, three of whom will be independent.
Newly appointed chairman, Timothy Unwin, formerly a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, said the company is responding to the OSC's trading suspension in October, which cited concerns about the quality of information available about the company.
"We took that very seriously… and we looked at our board and said, 'Look, we're a developing company and we want to adhere to best governance practices," he said in an interview.
Liberty is also executing a management shuffle. Bill Tafuri, currently on the board of directors and also the chief operating officer, will no longer hold a board seat or an executive title. He will instead become project manager of the company's Trinity Silver project. Mr. Unwin said that being a small company, Liberty realized they didn't need botha chief executive and a chief operating officer.
Liberty Silver is exploring the Trinity Silver project in Nevada, which was in production decades ago. The previous owner mined all the high grade silver, and now Liberty believes there is promising lower grade material leftover.
Liberty Silver was formed in 2007, but only recently grabbed headlines. In August, a well-known mining promoter named Bobby Genovese – who invested $3.5-million in Liberty though a Panamanian company in 2011 -- started releasing press releases and sending out e-mails talking up Liberty Silver. Trading volumes more than quadrupled in just over a month, and the shares shot to $1.58 from 75 cents over the same period.
The SEC quickly stepped in and suspended trading for two weeks, citing "a lack of current and accurate information about the company concerning, among other things, the control of its stock, its market price, and trading in the stock." The OSC quickly followed suit. Liberty has since resumed trading.