Last reviewed 10 December 2021
There is no prescribed corporate governance code for AIM companies and the 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 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 given its size and available resources. Patrick Cheetham, in his capacity as Chairman, has overall responsibility for the corporate governance of the Company. This Corporate Governance Statement was reviewed and amended by the Board on 10 December 2021.
The QCA Code sets out ten principles which should be applied. The principles are set out below with an explanation of how the Company applies each principle, and 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 promote 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 in the Strategic Report starting on page 5 of the Annual Report. Details of the challenges to the execution of the Company’s strategy and business model and how those will be addressed can be found in Risks and Uncertainties in the Strategic Report set out on pages 14 to 15 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.
All shareholders are normally encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meetings where they can meet and directly communicate with the Board. After the close of business at the Annual General Meeting, the Chairman makes an up-to-date corporate presentation and opens the floor to questions from shareholders.
Shareholders are also welcome to contact the Company via email at email@example.com 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.sunriseresourcesplc.com, which is updated on a regular basis and which includes the latest corporate presentation on the Group. Contact details are also provided on the website.
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 through individual policies and through ethical and transparent actions. The Company engages positively with local communities, regulatory authorities, suppliers and other stakeholders in its project locations and encourages feedback through this engagement. Through this process the Company identifies the key resources and fosters the relationships on which the business relies.
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 are detailed in Risks and Uncertainties in the Strategic Report set out on pages 14 to 15 of the Annual Report, together with risk mitigation strategies employed by the Board.
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 met twelve times during the year to consider such matters. Further details are provided in the Directors’ Report on page 19 of the Annual Report. The Board is supported by the Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees, details of which, together with attendance records, can also be found on page 19 of the Annual Report.
The Board currently consists of the Executive Chairman (Patrick Cheetham), and two non-executive directors (Roger Murphy and James Cole). The current Board’s preference is that independent non-executive directors comprise the majority of Board members. Patrick Cheetham is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive. Patrick Cheetham has a service contract as Chairman of the Company and his services as Chief Executive are provided to the Company, at cost, through a Management Services Agreement with Tertiary Minerals plc (“Tertiary”), in which he is a shareholder and where he is also employed as Chairman. In 2021, Patrick Cheetham dedicated over 51% of his working time to the Company and this is expected to increase significantly in 2022 due to reduced responsibilities in Tertiary. The combined role of Chairman and Chief Executive results in cost savings and is considered acceptable whilst there is a majority of independent directors on the Board and having regard to the fact that the Company is not yet revenue generating.
The non-executive directors have committed the time necessary to fulfil their roles during the year. The attendance record of the directors at Board and Board Committee meetings are detailed in the Directors’ Report on page 19 of the Annual Report.
The current non-executive directors are considered independent of management and free from any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgement.
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 its directors are relevant to the Company’s business and are appropriate for the current size and stage of development of the Company and the Board considers 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 Board of Directors’ biographies are set out 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.
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 Executive Chairman’s performance is regularly reviewed by the rest of the Board.
The Nomination Committee, currently consisting of the Executive Chairman and the two non-executive directors, 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. A new non-executive director, James Cole, was appointed during the year.
Under the Articles of Association, new directors appointed to the Board must stand for election at the first Annual General Meeting of the Company following their appointment. Under the Articles of Association, existing directors retire by rotation and may offer themselves for re-election.
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 Group is currently managed via a service agreement with Tertiary. It has no employees but encourages Tertiary’s employees to understand all aspects of the Group’s business and Tertiary seeks to remunerate its employees fairly, being flexible where practicable. In future, the Group will give 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 Tertiary’s employees’ interests when making decisions, and suggestions from those employees aimed at improving the Group’s performance are welcomed.
The corporate culture of the Company is promoted to Tertiary’s employees, 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 & Code of Conduct; Privacy and Cookies Policy and Social Media Policy. These procedures enable the Board to determine that ethical values are recognised and respected.
The Board recognises that its principal activity, mineral exploration and development, has potential to impact on local environments and consequently has adopted an Environmental Policy to ensure that, wherever they take place, the Group’s activities have minimal environmental impact. Where appropriate the Group’s contracts with suppliers and contractors legally bind those suppliers and contractors to do the same. The Group’s activities carried out in accordance with the Environmental Policy have had only minimal environmental impact and this policy is regularly reviewed. Where appropriate, all work is carried out after advance consultation with affected parties.
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 that 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 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. Key operational and financial decisions are reserved for the Board through quarterly project reviews, annual budgets, and quarterly budget and cash-flow forecasts and on an adhoc basis where required.
The two non-executive directors are 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. James Cole currently chairs the Audit Committee, Roger Murphy chairs the Remuneration Committee and Patrick Cheetham chairs the Nomination Committee.
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.
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 shareholders who are its key stakeholder group. The Company’s website is regularly updated and users, including all stakeholders, can register to be alerted via email when material announcements are made. The Company’s contact details are on the website should stakeholders wish to make enquiries of management.
The Group’s financial reports for at least the past five years can be found here:
Notices of Annual General Meetings for at least the last five years can be found here:
The results of voting on all resolutions in general meetings are 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 per cent of independent votes.