Return of the King: Pilbara Minerals co-founder Neil Biddle returns to chair TNG

TNG has appointed Pilbara Minerals founder Neil Biddle as its non-executive chairman as it prepares to transition towards development of its Mount Peake critical minerals project (reports Stockhead).

Boardroom 2

Biddle is a huge name in Aussie mining and a highly experienced geologist and mining executive to boot, with more than 30 years’ of experience – particularly in the fast-growing battery metals sector in the last decade.

As one of the founders of Pilbara Minerals, he played a pioneering role in the Australian lithium sector by leading the company’s acquisition of the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum Project in WA, and oversaw the discovery, exploration, financing and early development of the project.

This included engagement with offtake partners, developing appropriate funding strategies and raising the profile of the lithium sector in the Australian investment market, which was also mirror by Pilbara Minerals transforming from a micro-cap into a leading lithium company with a market capitalisation of over $10bn.

He was also one of the founders of Bardoc Gold and played a key role in the rejuvenation of Greenvale Mining over the past two years.

Biddle is no stranger to TNG Limited (ASX:TNG) given that he was its founding managing director between 1998 and April 2011, overseeing its transformation from its predecessor Hallmark Gold.

He also oversaw the early exploration of the Mount Peake project when it was considered a nickel sulphide target and the subsequent discovery of the world-class vanadium-titanium-iron deposit by its then exploration manager Paul Burton – now the company’s managing director.

Outgoing chairman John Elkington – who will remain a non-executive director – said the company was delighted with Biddle’s return.

“I can think of no one with greater experience or better qualifications than Neil to lead the Board as we move into this next exciting phase of our growth. This is a pivotal time for the Company, as we advance the Mount Peake Project towards development,” he added.

“Neil’s considerable corporate and strategic experience in the global battery metals sector – particularly in launching Pilbara Minerals on its highly successful growth trajectory – will be of huge value to TNG.

“We also look forward to his strategic input in unlocking the potential of our newly-acquired Sandover Lithium Project.”

Elkington’s comments were mirrored by Burton, who added that Biddle’s presence would open many additional doors for the company.

“TNG has a world-class critical minerals asset and the team led by Paul Burton has made significant progress over the past 10 years, working hard to deliver a major new long-life production asset that will change the face of the Company and make a huge contribution to the Australian economy,” Biddle noted.

In a letter to TNG shareholders released yesterday, Biddle also clarified that he is fully aware that a group of requisitioning shareholders, led by Grant Wilson, have proposed a resolution removing all new directors appointed on or after 18 July 2022 until the commencement of an upcoming general meeting of shareholders on 20 September.

“Notably, my decision to return to the TNG Board was based on the significant progress achieved by the current Board and management in advancing the Mount Peake Project, most recently with the receipt of up to A$800 million in conditional non-binding project financing support,” he wrote.

“I would like to clarify my position that, if Resolution 5 is passed, I will consider that my directorship is terminated by the wishes of the shareholders, regardless of legal opinion.

“As I said previously, these are exciting times for TNG and I encourage all shareholders to unite behind the team to capitalise on the hard work that has been put in over a long period of time.”

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