Role of the Board
The Board of Directors of Griffin has responsibility for setting the overall strategy of the Group, its performance, management and financial matters including, inter alia, the approval of budgets, significant capital expenditure and financial reports. Key decisions are based on the regular review of financial performance, capital and operational budgets and regular operational reports.
The directors continue to seek to add value and minimise costs to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Company and its business in order to fulfil their responsibility to benefit shareholders and other stakeholders. The Company and its directors have identified and keep under consideration the risks facing the Company and its subsidiaries (“the Group”).
The safety of all personnel working at the Group’s operations is a priority with formal procedures in place to prevent and report any safety and environmental issues. Individual department managers are able to communicate directly to the Chairman concerning any issues of concern.
The Group will not deal with any organisation or individual which it believes to be involved with slavery. The Group has formal procedures regarding the avoidance of bribery and corruption. The Group engages personnel regardless of race or gender.
The Company and its directors have adopted the Corporate Governance Code published by the UK Quoted Company Alliance (“QCA”) and are guided by the principles contained therein, so far as the Board of Directors is able and considers practicable.
Under common law in Bermuda, where Griffin is incorporated, shareholders are entitled to have the affairs of the Company conducted in accordance with general law and the Company’s memorandum of association and bye-laws. As required by Bermuda company law, all the directors are shareholders in the Company to align their interests with those of the shareholders.
The Board meets quarterly with all members in attendance in 2022. The Board will maintain a regular schedule of meetings during 2023, including visits to the Caijiaying Mine Site in the PRC. The Chairman and Finance Director regularly visit the Group’s operations to meet with management and other personnel. Meetings were held virtually when travel was not possible due to restrictions imposed by the PRC.
The Board is headed by a Chairman, who whilst not employed by the Company, spends a significant part of his time on the Company’s business. The Chairman’s services are provided by Keynes Capital. The Company has no Chief Executive Officer. Accordingly, the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman have not been separated as recommended by the QCA Code. The Finance Director is employed full-time. He is also the Company Secretary, which is not in accordance with best practice, so the Board will consider in 2023 how to address the separation of these roles.
The Chairman and Finance Director maintain regular contact with significant shareholders and the Company retains an office in London as a point of contact for all shareholders and potential shareholders in order to gauge the needs and expectations of shareholders in the Company.
Dal Brynelson, with his 40 years’ experience in the mining industry, provides additional support to the Board as a director of the Company’s Chinese subsidiary Hebei Hua Ao.
The Chairman and Finance Director report to the Board of Directors. A Chief Operating Officer, who reports directly to the Chairman, oversees the Group’s operations. Individual department heads report directly to him including the Chief Financial Officer, who also reports directly to the Finance Director.
As a result of the major changes to the membership of the Board in 2022, a review of Board effectiveness has been delayed until 2023.
Role of the Non-executive Directors
Clive Whiley is the Senior Independent Director (“SID”). Two independent non-executive directors were appointed to the Board in 2022. The shareholdings of these three non-executive directors are less than 0.2% of the Company’s issued share capital and they are free from any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgement. Although a non-executive director, Adam Usdan is not an independent director as he is also a major shareholder. Independent non- executive directors therefore comprise 50% of the Board.
The SID receives additional compensation to reflect his commitment to make 25% of his time available to help the Chairman with strategic support. The Chairman requires this support since he has the operational responsibilities of a Chief Executive Officer and the Board is of the view that the specialist nature of this support could not be sourced from the Company’s advisers. Notwithstanding the additional responsibilities and remuneration received by the SID, the Board’s judgement is that he remains an independent director as the additional responsibilities represent a minority of his employment and he is demonstrably independent in character and judgement.
The SID supports the Chairman and executive director by regularly communicating with the major shareholders to build a strong relationship with them, other shareholders and potential investors.
The Committees of the Board
The Board is supported by the Audit Committee and Remuneration Committee. A Nomination Committee has not been formally established with, in effect, the whole Board fulfilling this function. The existing Board of Directors brings a balance of skills and experience to the Company, including legal, financial, mining and market expertise. All directors are subject to re-appointment annually at the Annual General Meeting of the Company’s shareholders.
The Audit Committee assists the Board in its oversight of the Company’s financial reporting, internal control and risk management within the corporate governance framework.
The Chair is Linda Naylor, the other members are Adam Usdan and Clive Whiley.
The Remuneration Committee is responsible for determining and agreeing with the Board of Directors the remuneration policy and employment terms of the Finance Director and Chairman and, in consultation with the Chairman, other senior executives of the Group.
The Chair is Dean Moore, the other members are Adam Usdan and Clive Whiley.
The Board has identified the following internal and external stakeholders. The needs, interests and expectations of these stakeholders are regularly monitored and assessed with the understanding that the long-term success of Griffin depends on good relations with all stakeholder groups. Feedback from all channels of communication with stakeholders is integrated into Griffin’s strategy.
|Main Stakeholders||Key Issues||Communication and Feedback Channels|
|Government and regulatory agencies||Implementation of laws, regulations
Corporate governance and compliance operation
Safety and environmental protection
|Compliance with laws and regulations including payment of taxes.
Daily communication and reporting
|Shareholders and investors|| Profitable operations
Sustainable development governance
Human rights policy disclosure
| Regulatory reporting
Equal opportunity employer
Bribery and corruption policy
|Employees and their families|| Salary and benefits
Training and development
Health and safety
| Employee performance reviews
Staff representative conference
Regular safety reporting, safety inductions and safety meetings
|Suppliers and business partners|| Customer service
Supply chain management
| Dedicated procurement department
Independent assay and moisture checks of concentrate sold
|Community|| Community investment
Environmental protection and ecology
| Involvement in the local community
Local community support, including infrastructure, poverty alleviation, schooling
Care and protection of the local environment with minimal discharges