As an AIM-quoted company, Goldstone Resources Limited (“Goldstone” or the “Company”) and its subsidiaries (together, the “Group”) is required to apply a recognised corporate governance code, demonstrating how the Group complies with such corporate governance code and where it departs from it.
The Directors of the Company have formally taken the decision to apply the QCA Corporate Governance Code (the “QCA Code”). The Board follows the principles of the QCA Code, save as set out below, which focus on the creation of medium to long-term value for shareholders without stifling the entrepreneurial spirit in which small to medium sized companies, such as Goldstone, have been created. The Company will provide annual updates on its compliance with the QCA Code in its Annual Report.
The Board comprises five Directors of which one is executive and four are non-executives, including the Chairman, reflecting a blend of different experience and backgrounds. The Board considers Richard Wilkins and Richard Lloyd to be independent non-executives in terms of the QCA guidelines. The Board meets throughout the year and all major decisions are taken by the full Board. The Group’s day-to-day operations are managed by the Executive Director and management. All Directors have access to the Company Secretary and any Director needing independent professional advice in the furtherance of his/her duties may obtain this advice at the expense of the Group.
The Board is satisfied that it has a suitable balance between independence on the one hand, and knowledge of the Company on the other, to enable it to discharge its duties and responsibilities effectively, and that all Directors have adequate time to fill their roles.
Details of the current Directors, their roles and background are set out on the Board and Management page of the Company’s website.
The role of the Chairman is to provide leadership of the Board and ensure its effectiveness on all aspects of its remit to maintain control of the Group. In addition, the Chairman is responsible for the implementation and practice of sound corporate governance. The Chairman is considered independent and has adequate separation from the day-to-day running of the Group.
The role of the Chief Executive Officer is for the strategic development of the Group and for communicating it clearly to the Board and, once approved by the Board, for implementing it. In addition, the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for overseeing the management of the Group and its executive management.
In the spirit of the QCA Code it is the Board’s job to ensure that the Group is managed for the long-term benefit of all shareholders and other stakeholders with effective and efficient decision-making. Corporate governance is an important part of that job, reducing risk and adding value to the Group. The Board will continue to monitor the governance framework of the Group as it grows.
Goldstone is an exploration and development company that seeks to grow shareholder value through the exploration and development of precious metal projects in West Africa. The Company seeks to promote the long-term value for shareholders by leveraging the technical knowledge and experience of its executive directors and senior management to achieve further significant uplift in its mineral resources and complete the necessary associated technical work.
The Company remains committed to listening to, and communicating openly with, its shareholders to ensure that its strategy, business model and performance are clearly understood. The AGM is a forum for shareholders to engage in dialogue with the Board. The results of the AGM will be published via RNS and on the Company’s website. In addition, the Board organises regular update meetings with both the shareholders and the Company’s brokers. Regular progress reports are also made via RNSs and the point of contact is Emma Priestley, Chief Executive Officer.
Goldstone believes that a successful project is best achieved through maintaining close working relationships with local stakeholders, and this strategy is an important aspect of Goldstone’s exploration initiatives by establishing and maintaining co-operative relationships with local communities, hiring local personnel and using local contractors and suppliers.
Goldstone’s management maintains a close dialogue with local communities and its workforce. Where issues are raised, the Board takes the matters seriously and, where appropriate, steps are taken to ensure that these are integrated into the Company’s strategy.
Careful attention is given to ensure that all exploration activity is performed in an environmentally responsible manner and abides by all relevant mining and environmental acts. Goldstone takes a conscientious role in all of its operations and is aware of its social responsibility and its environmental duty.
Both the engagement with local communities and the performance of all activities in an environmentally and socially responsible way are closely monitored by the Board and ensure that ethical values and behaviours are recognised.
The Board has established two committees comprising Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors.
The composition of the committees is as follows:
William (Bill) Trew
The Audit Committee
The Audit Committee meets twice during the year to review the published financial information, the effectiveness of external audit and internal financial controls including the specific matters set out below.
The terms of reference of the Audit Committee are to assist all the Directors in discharging their individual and collective legal responsibilities and during the meetings to ensure that:
The audit committee does not consider there is a need for an internal audit function given the size and nature of the Group.
Significant issues considered by the Audit Committee during the year have been the Principal Risks and Uncertainties and their effect on the financial statements. The Audit Committee tracked the Principal Risks and Uncertainties through the year and kept in contact with the Group’s Management, External Service Providers and Advisors and received regular updates. The Audit Committee is satisfied that there has been appropriate focus and challenge on the high-risk areas.
PKF Littlejohn LLP, the current external auditors, has been in office since 2016 which was the last time a tender for the audit took place.
The external auditors are invited to attend the Audit Committee meeting to present their findings and this provides them with a direct line of communication to the Directors.
The terms of reference of the Remuneration Committee are to:
The Company does not currently have a Nominations Committee, which the Board considers to be appropriate given the Company’s size and nature, but it will continue to monitor the situation as it grows.
The Directors acknowledge their responsibility for the Group’s system of internal control, which is designed to ensure adherence to the Group’s policies whilst safeguarding the assets of the Group, in addition to ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the accounting records. Responsibility for implementing a system of internal financial control is delegated to the Executive Director. The essential elements of the Group’s internal financial control procedures involve:
In accordance with the AIM Rules for Companies, Goldstone departs from the QCA Code in the following way:
Principle 7 – “Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement.”
Goldstone’s board is small and extremely focussed on implementing the Company’s strategy. The Board will closely monitor the need for formal performance evaluation, in light of Principle 7 of the QCA Code, as the Company develops.
Bill Trew, Non-Executive Chairman