Troubled mining company parts ways with its chief executive

Tungsten West

A Devon firm looking to reopen a tungsten mine in the county has parted ways with its chief executive with immediate effect.

Tungsten West, the mining company focused on restarting production at the Hemerdon tungsten and tin mine in Devon, has  announced that Neil Gawthorpe has resigned as chief executive with immediate effect.

He will remain a director of the board pending finalisation of his settlement agreement.

Last December Gawthorpe warned the AIM listed business could face insolvency unless it secured emergency financing or a critical set of permits by the end of this year.

The company wrote in its annual report and accounts for 2023 that its status as a going concern was “reliant on further funding being secured.

The company was forced to make savage job cuts 12 months ago and has been looking to raise additional funding for over a year.

Tungsten West aims to revive the Hemerdon mine, which it estimates to be the world’s second largest resource for tungsten.

The mine ceased production in 2018 after the previous owner collapsed into administration.

Alistair Stobie will retain the role of the company’s chief financial officer and will additionally assume the position of Interim CEO.

He will join the company’s board of directors, subject to completion of the customary due diligence required by the AIM Rules for Nominated Advisers.

The company has started the process of appointing a permanent CEO and further announcements will be made in due course.

David Cather, non-executive chairman of Tungsten West, said: “I would like to thank Neil for the progress at the Hemerdon project that has been made under his leadership, especially in respect of right-sizing the project cost base whilst the updated feasibility study is finalised, obtaining the lifting of the tonnage cap for truck haulage of aggregates, and obtaining the draft Environmental Permit for the Mineral Processing Facility, the last outstanding permit required for the restart of mining operations. We wish Neil all the best with his future endeavours.

“The company continues to focus on restarting production at the Hemerdon project, and we are pleased that Alistair Stobie will assume the position of Interim CEO whilst we commence the process of appointing a permanent CEO to help direct our collective efforts at Hemerdon.”

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