Premier unveils top-level team for i-80 Gold

Premier Gold Mines’ McCoy-Cove project in Nevada. Credit: Premier Gold Mines

Premier Gold Mines (TSX: PG; US-OTC: PIRGF) has picked the management team for new U.S.-focused gold miner i-80 Gold Corp., a company formed as part of the $612 million (US$478 million) acquisition of Premier by Equinox Gold (TSX: EQX; NYSE: EQX).

The friendly takeover, announced in December, proposed consolidating Premier’s gold asset in Nevada under a new entity, headquartered in Reno.

Key members of i-80 announced Monday include Ewan Downie as CEO and a director; Ron Clayton in the chairman of the board post and Matthew Gili as the president and chief operating officer.

Ewan Downie. (Credit: Premier Gold Mines)

Downie is Premier’s founder, president and CEO. Prior to that, he launched Wolfden Resources (TSXV: WLF), which has attracted major industry miner Kinross Gold (TSX:K; NYSE:KGC).

Clayton brings over 40 years in the business. He is currently the president and CEO of 1911 Gold (TSXV: AUMB; US-OTC: AUMBF), an exploration and development company.  He also acted as the president, CEO and director of Tahoe Resources until June of 2018.

Gili is a mining engineer with vast experience in management roles. His technical skills were enhanced when working as executive general manager of the Cortez District, leading one of Barrick’s top mining operations in Nevada. Shortly after, he was promoted to chief technical officer for Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD).

“It has been our goal to launch i-80 with an industry-best management team and the core group we have been able to attract achieves this first priority target,” Ewan Downie, Premier’s current president and CEO, said in a press release on Feb. 1. 

Downie noted the executives bring a proven track record in mine development and operations, including at major gold mining complexes in Nevada, such as Cortez and Turquoise Ridge.

Equinox acquisition will see Premier shareholders receive 0.1967 of an Equinox Gold share and 0.4 of a share of i-80 Gold for each Premier share held. Equinox shares were trading at $12.79 on the Toronto Stock Exchange this morning, while Premier’s were changing hands at $3.34.

Premier investors will own 16% of Equinox Gold once the deal is complete, as well as 70% of the shares of i-80 Gold.

Equinox Gold will own the remaining 30% of i-80 Gold.

The Vancouver-based company moved from developer to producer status in July, when it kicked off commercial production at its second gold mine, Aurizona, in northeastern Brazil.

The deal is subject to court approval and Premier shareholders’ approval at a meeting scheduled for February.


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