Friday 28th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘John Gregory Paterson’

Week in review

January 18th, 2013

A mining and exploration retrospect for January 12 to 18, 2013

by Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

Colombia kidnap victims still missing

By press time Friday, little was known about the five people abducted earlier in the day from Braeval Mining’s TSX:BVL Snow Mine gold project in northern Colombia. The three employees and two consultants included a Canadian, two Colombians and two Peruvians. The Peruvian consulate identified two victims as Javier Leandro Ochoa and Jose Antonio Mamani. The other names haven’t been released.

Colombian kidnap victims still missing

Military sources say the victims were abducted
in a rural area of Norosi municipality, in Bolivar department.

The hostages were taken by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in a region described as a traditional ELN stronghold, the Globe and Mail reported. With an estimated 1,500 members, the ELN is much smaller than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), news reports stated.

Although FARC holds peace negotiations with the government, “the ELN has been seeking peace talks … without success. Unlike the FARC, it has not renounced ransom kidnappings,” according to the G&M.

“Miners in Colombia have traditionally paid tributes, or ‘war taxes,’ to rebels and other illegal armed groups,” the paper added.

Geologist gets jail

A Vancouver court handed former mining executive John Gregory Paterson a six-year prison sentence for his faked assay scam, the CBC reported on Friday. Paterson pleaded guilty last September to four counts of fraud.

As CEO of Southwestern Resources and a qualified person, Paterson signed off on 433 assays that he invented between 2003 and 2007. His make-belief numbers were used in a 2005 PEA for the Boka Gold Project in China.

According to the CBC, Paterson’s lawyers told a sentencing hearing that “he suffers from severe depression and argued he didn’t carry out the fraud to line his pockets. Instead, Paterson was motivated by wishful thinking and a crippling fear of failure.”

But the Crown prosecutor told court how investors suddenly lost their savings. “Really, the floor fell out from underneath them,” the CBC quoted him. “It was an absolute shock and a terrible loss.”

Read more about Paterson’s Boka gold scam here.

Land claims clash with claim-staking

A possible overhaul of British Columbia’s claim-staking process could give natives more power to block early-stage exploration on Crown land. A Monday Vancouver Sun article discussed implications of a December decision by the Yukon Court of Appeal, which ruled that the territorial government must consult and “accommodate” the Ross River Dena Council before awarding mineral claims within the Ross River area.

So far the ruling concerns a region surrounding one native band. But it might have wider repercussions within the Yukon and B.C. As the Sun pointed out, the three judges behind the decision also sit on the B.C. Court of Appeal, “meaning they could rule similarly in any separate B.C. case.”

Mining Association of B.C. spokesperson Zoe Younger told the Sun that B.C., unlike the Yukon, doesn’t automatically approve exploration once a claim has been staked. Different circumstances “have different trigger points and thresholds,” she said.

Nevertheless the Sun stated that Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, “called the Yukon decision ‘hugely significant’ and urged the B.C. government to take notice or face the prospect of more litigation with the same results in this province.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. said, “We are encouraging the Yukon government, First Nations and Yukon Chamber of Mines to work together to resolve this issue in a practical way that brings certainty to everyone. AME BC is supporting YCM and following this important file closely. The government of Yukon has been given 60 days to determine if it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Next Page 1 | 2

Looking back at last week

September 21st, 2012

A round-up of exploration and mining news for September 15 to 21, 2012

By Greg Klein

Next Page 1 | 2

The elephant in B.C. boardrooms
On Thursday the long, long process of advancing Taseko Mines’ TSX:TKO $1.1-billion New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project crept forward—or, according to the company, reached a “major milestone”—when Taseko formally filed its Environmental Impact Statement to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority. A three-member panel will review the submission and conduct public hearings over the next year.

Although the project passed a British Columbia environmental review, a federal panel rejected it in November 2010, condemning a plan to convert Fish Lake into a tailings dump. Taseko then came up with a $300-million plan to preserve the 118-hectare lake by positioning the tailings two kilometres north.

In a Vancouver Sun op-ed on Friday, Taseko President/CEO Russell Hallbauer sells the project’s economic benefits. But no one in the industry seems willing to speak openly about the previous CEAA decision, which often used subjective and non-environmental reasoning to pan the proposal. The report described Fish Lake as “a place of spiritual power and healing” for the Tsilhqot’in native band, concluding that the mine would have “a significant adverse effect” on established native rights, potential rights, potential title, and traditional and cultural uses.

The controversy highlights the uncertainty resource companies face in B.C. In September 2011 Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, stated Taseko’s plan “will trigger a province-wide and nation-wide backlash that will severely jeopardize relationships between First Nations and the mining industry for years to come.”

Read more about New Prosperity here, here and here.

Young miners make more than Harvard grads
“Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology,” Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The story adds, “Demand for mining-school graduates is exceptional in the U.S., where the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees was 11.8% in July.” The U.S. will need some 78,000 additional mining personnel by 2019 to replace retirees, while Australia will need 1,700 mine engineers, 3,000 geoscientists and 36,000 others by 2015, the report states.

A round-up of exploration and mining news

Last March Aurizon Mines TSX:ARZ President/CEO George Paspalas told ResourceClips, “Recruiting new employees is, I believe, one of the biggest issues facing the industry globally. A lot of development and operational plans hinge on the human resource, not the resource in the ground. There’s a lot of very experienced people coming up to retirement. There’s a gap where people didn’t go into the industry when metal prices were depressed in the mid- and late-1990s. That’s the age group from about 35 or 40 years to about 50 years. The industry was depressed, and the dot-com boom was on, so people wanted to get into the sexy stuff.”

Lack of expertise can subject projects to delays and disappointments. Bloomberg quotes Robin Adams, a managing consultant with research company CRU, who attributes setbacks to “haste, inexperience, lack of properly done mining studies [which reflect] the fact that mining is missing a generation. They are learning though, so that problem is going to go away in a few years.”

Honoured and pleased, despite the misunderstanding
For a few days this week Belo Sun Mining’s TSX:BSX stock hit enough turbulence to induce airsickness. The cause, according to President/CEO Mark Eaton, was a misunderstanding about what Brazilian public prosecutors mean by an “investigation.” As he suggested to the Globe and Mail, it’s more of a routine inquiry. Even if someone just wants to build “a cow shed, the federal prosecutor has to open an ‘investigation’,” Eaton told the G&M.

But when news reports stated that a federal prosecutor was “investigating” the company’s Volta Grande Gold Project, the misunderstanding almost sank a $50-million private placement.

Belo Sun opened at $1.50 on Monday, and that afternoon the company announced a bought deal of 35.72 million shares at $1.40. The stock closed that day at $1.54.

Come Tuesday morning, however, it opened at $1.40 and plummeted to $1.27, before closing at $1.37. That evening the company tried to clear things up: “The federal Public Prosecutor Office in the state of Pará opens an investigation proceeding for each and every environmental licensing process in the state. The investigation proceeding regarding the project does not imply any irregularity or particular concern regarding the environmental licensing process for the project.”

About 28 minutes later, the company cancelled the private placement.

By Wednesday the stock opened a bit higher at $1.40. That afternoon the company re-announced the private placement on the previous terms, including a share price of $1.40. The share closed the day at $1.39.

In his Tuesday statement, Eaton said he was “honoured and pleased with the participation and interest of the Public Prosecutor Office.” Should all go well, Volta Grande will begin its feasibility study in Q1 2013.

Next Page 1 | 2

Geologist faces jail

September 18th, 2012

QP admits fraud, prosecutor wants 10 years

By Greg Klein

The former head of gold exploration company Southwestern Resources faces a possible 10-year prison term, the Vancouver Sun reports. John Gregory Paterson, who was the company’s president, CEO and largest shareholder, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud involving false assay results from the Boka Gold Project in China. A sentencing hearing is underway in Vancouver.

But the process of justice has been slow. As Sun columnist David Baines reports, Paterson scammed shareholders from May 2003 to February 2007, when he issued 25 press releases reporting 446 assay results—of which 433 were fictional. Paterson was the qualified person who signed off on the phoney numbers.

He managed to continue his fraud during a 2005 PEA. His numbers were used to estimate a resource of 966,000 gold ounces indicated and four million ounces inferred.

QP admits fraud, prosecutor wants 10 years

A multi-million-dollar fraud involving false drill results could bring the former head of Southwestern Resources a lengthy prison term.

It was only in 2007 that Southwestern executives and board members became suspicious about persistent delays in completing a pre-feas. In June of that year they launched an internal investigation. Paterson resigned. A delegation to China failed to locate Project Manager John Zhang, who received half a million dollars from Paterson.

The Crown prosecutor told court that Southwestern paid its CEO over $1 million a year from 2003 to 2005, rising to over $2 million in 2006. In his final year Paterson made $372,500 in salary and severance. He gained another $5.6 million by trading Southwestern shares through five brokerage accounts, the Crown added.

A class action lawsuit was settled in September 2008 for $15.52 million. The company put up $8.32 million while Paterson and his wife paid $7.2 million.

In June 2009 the B.C. Securities Commission slapped Paterson with a lifetime ban on trading, acting as a QP or engaging in IR activities. Shortly afterwards the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy revoked his membership.

The commission stated that due to the lawsuit, Paterson “is unable to pay the approximately $3.5 million to the BCSC that would have been required in this matter.”

The BCSC also found that on July 16, 2007 Paterson dumped 50,000 Southwestern shares at $5.96, knowing the company was about to come clean. When the news broke two days later, Southwestern plunged to $2.90, reducing its market cap by $157.7 million.

In May 2009 Hochschild Mining HCHDF, a JV partner with Southwestern in a Peruvian gold-silver project, took over the company for $0.50 a share. The deal totalled $22.5 million.

RCMP laid charges in December 2010 and the case came to court last September 17.

The sentencing hearing continues in Vancouver where, the Sun reports, Paterson is expected to dispute Crown statements about the extent of damage his fraud inflicted.