Last reviewed 11 December 2020
There is no prescribed corporate governance code for AIM companies and London Stock Exchange prefers to give companies the flexibility to choose from a range of codes which suit their specific stage of development, sector and size.
The Board considers the corporate governance code published by the Quoted Companies Alliance for small and mid-sized quoted companies to be the most suitable code for the Company. Accordingly the Company has adopted the principles set out in the QCA Corporate Governance Code (the “QCA Code”) and applies these principles wherever possible, and where appropriate to its size and available resources.
The Chairman, Patrick Cheetham, has overall responsibility for the Corporate Governance of the Company. This Corporate Governance Statement was reviewed and amended by the Board on 11 December 2020.
The QCA Code sets out ten principles which should be applied. The principles are listed below with an explanation of how the Company applies each principle and/or the reasons for any aspect of non-compliance. Where reference is made to the Annual Report, it is a reference to the latest annual report which can be viewed at the following link:
Principle One: Establish a strategy and business model which promotes long-term value for shareholders.
The Company has a clearly defined strategy and business model that has been adopted by the Board and is set out on page 4 of the Annual Report. Details of the key challenges to the execution of the Company’s strategy and business model and how these challenges are addressed can be found in Risks and Uncertainties in the Strategic Report set out on pages 9 to 10 of the Annual Report.
Principle Two: Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations.
The Board is committed to maintaining good communication with its shareholders and investors. The Chairman and members of the Board from time to time meet with shareholders and investors directly or through arrangements with the Company’s brokers to understand their investment requirements and expectations and to address their enquiries and concerns.
Where feasible all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Annual General Meeting where they can meet and directly communicate with the Board. Shareholders are welcome to contact the Company via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific queries.
The Company also provides regulatory, financial and business news updates through the Regulatory News Service (RNS) and various media channels such as Twitter. Shareholders also have access to information through the Company’s website, www.tertiaryminerals.com, which is updated on a regular basis.
Principle Three: Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success.
The Board takes regular account of the significance of social, environmental and ethical matters affecting the business of the Group. At this stage in the Group’s development, the Board has not adopted a specific written policy on Corporate Social Responsibility as it has a limited pool of stakeholders other than its shareholders. Rather, the Board seeks to protect the interests of the Group’s stakeholders (both internal and external to the Group) through individual policies and through ethical and transparent actions. The Company engages positively with suppliers, stakeholders and with local communities through open meetings and meetings with community representatives in its project locations and encourages feedback through this engagement.
Principle Four: Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation.
The Board regularly reviews the risks to which the Group is exposed and ensures through its meetings and regular reporting that these risks are minimised as far as possible whilst recognising that its business opportunities carry an inherently high level of risk. The principal risks and uncertainties facing the Group at this stage in its development and in the foreseeable future together with risk mitigation strategies employed by the Board are detailed in Risks and Uncertainties in the Strategic Report on pages 9 to 10 of the Annual Report.
Principle Five: Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair.
The Board’s role is to agree the Group’s long-term direction and strategy and monitor achievement of its business objectives. The Board meets formally four times a year for these purposes and holds additional meetings when necessary to transact other business. The Board receives regular and timely reports for consideration on all significant strategic, operational and financial matters. Relevant information for consideration by the Board is circulated in advance of its meetings.
The Board is supported by the Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees.
The Board currently consists of the Executive Chairman and one independent non-executive director. The current Board’s preference is that there is a minimum of two independent non-executive directors. However, this is not currently the case and the Company intends that an additional independent non-executive director will be appointed shortly. When there are two independent non-executive directors in post, the Board considers that the Board structure will be acceptable having regard to the fact that it is not yet revenue-earning.
Despite serving as a non-executive director for more than nine years, Donald McAlister is considered independent of management and free from any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of his independent judgement. In compliance with good practice, he will continue to seek annual re-election rather than every third year as per the Articles of Association.
Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings
The Board retains full control of the Group with day-to-day operational control delegated to the Executive Directors. The full Board meets formally four times a year and on any other occasions it considers necessary. During the period under review there were sixteen Board meetings, two Remuneration Committee meetings, two Audit Committee meetings and one Nomination Committee meeting. All meetings were attended by their constituent directors.
Principle Six: Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities.
The Board considers the current balance of sector, financial and public market skills and experience of the directors is relevant to the Company’s business and is appropriate given the current size and stage of development of the Company. The Board is satisfied that it has the skills and experience necessary to execute the Company’s strategy and business plan and discharge its duties effectively.
The directors maintain their skills through membership of various professional bodies, attendance at mining conferences and through their various external appointments. Details of the current directors’ biographies are set out on the Company’s website at the link below.
All directors have access to the advice and services of the Company Secretary who is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures and applicable rules and regulations are observed. All directors are able to take independent professional advice, if required, in relation to their duties and at the Company’s expense.
The Board and its committees will also seek external expertise and advice where required.
Principle Seven: Evaluate Board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement.
The ultimate measure of the effectiveness of the Board is the Company’s progress against the long-term strategy and aims of the business. This progress is reviewed in Board meetings held at least four times a year. The performance of the Executive Directors is reviewed once a year by the rest of the Board, and measured against a definitive list of short, medium and long-term strategic targets set by the Board.
The Nomination Committee, currently consisting of the Chairman and the Non-Executive Director, meets once a year to lead the formal process of rigorous and transparent procedures for Board appointments. During this meeting, the Nomination Committee reviews the structure, size and composition of the Board; succession planning; leadership; key strategic and commercial issues; conflicts of interest; time required from non-executive directors to execute their duties effectively; overall effectiveness of the Board and its own terms of reference.
Principle Eight: Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours.
The Board recognises and strives to promote a corporate culture based on strong ethical and moral values. The corporate culture of the Company is promoted throughout its workforce, suppliers and contractors and is underpinned by the implementation and regular review, enforcement and documentation of various policies: Health and Safety Policy; Environmental Policy; Share Dealing Policy; Anti-Corruption Policy and Code of Conduct; Privacy and Cookies Policy and Social Media Policy.
The Group encourages its employees to understand all aspects of the Group’s business and seeks to remunerate its employees fairly, being flexible where practicable. The Group gives full and fair consideration to applications for employment received regardless of age, gender, colour, ethnicity, disability, nationality, religious beliefs, transgender status or sexual orientation. The Board takes account of employees’ interests when making decisions, and suggestions from employees aimed at improving the Group’s performance are welcomed.
Suppliers and Contractors
The Group recognises that the goodwill of its contractors, consultants and suppliers is important to its business success and seeks to build and maintain this goodwill through fair dealings. The Group has a prompt payment policy and seeks to settle all agreed liabilities within the terms agreed with suppliers. The amount shown in the Consolidated and Company Statements of Financial Position in respect of trade payables at the end of the financial year represents 13 days of average daily purchases (2019: 11 days).
Anti-Corruption Policy and Code of Conduct
The Company has adopted and implements an Anti-Corruption Policy and a Code of Conduct.
Health and Safety
The Board recognises it has a responsibility to provide strategic leadership and direction in the development of the Group’s health and safety strategy in order to protect all of its stakeholders. The Company has developed and implemented a Health and Safety Policy to clearly define roles and responsibilities and in order to identify and manage risk.
Principle Nine: Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the Board.
The Board has overall responsibility for all aspects of the business. The Chairman is responsible for overseeing the running of the Board, ensuring that no individual or group dominates the Board’s decision-making and ensuring the non-executive directors are properly briefed on all operational and financial matters. The Chairman has overall responsibility for corporate governance matters in the Group and chairs the Nomination Committee. The Executive Chairman has the responsibility for implementing the strategy of the Board and managing the day-to-day business activities of the Group. The Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures are followed and applicable rules and regulations are complied with.
Non-Executive Director, Donald McAlister, is responsible for bringing independent and objective judgment to Board decisions. The Board has established Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees with formally delegated duties and responsibilities. Donald McAlister currently chairs the Audit and Remuneration Committees and Patrick Cheetham chairs the Nomination Committee.
The Audit Committee, currently composed entirely of the Non-Executive Director, assists the Board in meeting responsibilities in respect of external financial reporting and internal controls. The Audit Committee also keeps under review the scope and results of the audit. It also considers the cost-effectiveness, independence and objectivity of the Auditor taking account of any non-audit services provided by them.
The Remuneration Committee also comprises the Non-Executive Director. The Remuneration Committee determines the appropriate remuneration for the Company’s executive directors, ensuring that this reflects their performance and that of the Group, and to demonstrate to shareholders that executive remuneration is set by Board members who have no personal interest in the outcome of their decisions.
The Company has previously operated a long-term bonus and incentive scheme for the position of Managing Director. The objective of adopting the scheme was to provide reward for successfully achieving performance targets set by the Board in line with the Company’s Aims and Strategy. The Company has in place an Inland Revenue approved share option scheme and also issues warrants to subscribe for shares to executive directors and employees. Directors’ emoluments are disclosed in Note 4 to the financial statements and details of directors’ warrants are disclosed in Note 17 of the Annual Report.
As noted above, the Company intends that an additional independent non-executive director will be appointed shortly. The audit and remuneration committees will then comprise two independent non-executive directors.
Conflicts of Interest
The Companies Act 2006 permits directors of public companies to authorise directors’ conflicts and potential conflicts, where appropriate, and the Articles of Association contain a provision to this effect.
At 30 September 2020, Tertiary Minerals plc held 0.6% of the issued share capital of Sunrise Resources plc and the Chairman of Tertiary Minerals plc is also Chairman of Sunrise Resources plc. Tertiary Minerals plc also provides management services to Sunrise Resources plc, in the search, evaluation and acquisition of new projects.
Procedures are in place in order to avoid any conflict of interest between the Company and Sunrise Resources plc.
Principle Ten: Communicate how the Company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with shareholders and other relevant stakeholders.
The Company regularly communicates with, and encourages feedback from, its various stakeholder groups. The Company’s website is regularly updated and users can register to be alerted via email when certain announcements are made.
The Group’s financial reports can be found here:
Notices of General Meetings held for at least the past five years can be found here:
The results of voting on all resolutions in general meetings will be posted to the Company’s website, including any actions to be taken as a result of resolutions for which votes against have been received from at least 20% of independent votes.
This Corporate Governance statement will be reviewed at least annually to ensure that the Company’s corporate governance framework evolves in line with the Company’s strategy and business plan.