Lundin Mining CEO Retires, Company Stays Independent After Review

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Lundin says it will stay independent. A mining pit in Canada. | CP

(CP) -- Lundin Mining Corp. says it will remain an independent company, after its board of directors and financial advisors wrapped up a strategic review without finding a compelling deal to pursue.

It also says Phil Wright, who has been chief executive of the company since January 2008, will retire at the end of June.

During his tenure, Wright has attempted to guide Lundin to two friendly mergers but each collapsed without sufficient shareholder support.

The strategic review was launched after a proposed friendly tie-up with Inmet Mining Corp. was abandoned in March.

At the time, Lundin was the target of a hostile takeover attempt by Equinox Minerals Ltd. -- now being acquired by Barrick Gold Corp. -- and a cloud hovered over the future of an Inmet copper project.

Lundin was also left standing at the altar in 2009 by HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM), which faced a revolt by its own shareholders.

As recently as two weeks ago, Wright said the strategic review had generated strong interest -- but he was non-commital about whether a deal would be done.

On Wednesday, Lundin said the review was over and no deal had been reached.

"Although the company received a number of non-binding expressions of interest with respect to both its assets and the company, the board of directors . . . has determined that these proposals did not adequately value the company or its assets and that the best way to create shareholder value is to continue to manage and develop the company's quality assets and to actively seek growth opportunities."

It added that Paul Conibear, the company's senior vice-president for corporate development, would be interim CEO after Wright leaves. The board is looking for a permanent replacement for Wright.

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