The Group’s securities are traded on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange (“AIM”). The Group has accomplished the requirements of the Quoted Company Alliance (“QCA”) corporate governance guidelines for AIM companies.
In addition, the Company has an established code of conduct for dealings in the shares of the Company by directors and employees.
John Teeling, in his capacity as Chairman, has assumed responsibility for ensuring that the Company has appropriate corporate governance standards in place and that these requirements are communicated and applied.
The Board currently consists of 5 directors: Executive Chairman; Managing Director; Financial Director (and Company Secretary) and two Non-Executive Directors. The Board considers that appropriate oversight of the Company is provided by the currently constituted Board.
The 10 principles set out in the QCA Code are listed below, with an explanation of how Botswana Diamonds applies each of the principles and the reason for any aspect of non-compliance.
1. Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for shareholders
The Company is an African focused diamond exploration company and has a clearly defined strategy and business model that has been adopted by the Board. This strategy is set out in the Strategic Report on page 19 of the Annual Report.
2. Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations
The Board is committed to maintaining good communication and having constructive dialogue with its shareholders. All shareholders and analysts have the opportunity to discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company. In addition, all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting and any other General Meetings that are held throughout the year.
Investors also have access to current information on the Company through its website www.botswanadiamonds.co.uk and through James Campbell, Managing Director who is available to answer investor relations enquiries. The Company provides regulatory, financial and business news updates through the Regulatory News Service in accordance with the AIM Rules. Contact details are also provided on the website.
3. Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success
The Company’s project areas are located in Botswana and South Africa. Staff and locally appointed representatives at the Company’s project offices provide a first point of contact for stakeholders to receive information on the Company’s activities and provide feedback on any issues or concerns they may have. The Company has appointed local representatives to communicate with stakeholder groups e.g. local & regional government officials, central government departments, community groups and local suppliers to keep them continuously updated on project activities and plans. Management conveys to the Board in a timely manner through formal reporting channels and at operational review meetings any substantive concerns of stakeholders and where necessary, the Board mandates appropriate action be taken to address these concerns.
The Board is committed to having the highest degree possible of Corporate Social Responsibility in how the company undertakes its activities. We aim to have an uncompromising stance on health, safety, environment and community relations. The Company policy is that all Company activities are carried out in compliance with safety regulations, in a culture where the safety of personnel is paramount. The Company will ensure an appropriate level of contact and negotiation with all stakeholders including landowners, community groups and regional and national authorities. This is carried out by James Campbell and local consultants in Botswana
and South Africa.
4. Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation
The Board regularly reviews the risks to which the Company 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 Board has considered mechanisms by which the business and the financial risks facing the Group are managed and reported to the Board. The principal business and financial risks have been identified and control procedures implemented. The Board acknowledges its responsibility for reviewing the effectiveness of the systems that are in place to manage risk and to provide reasonable assurance on the safeguarding of the Group’s assets against misstatement or loss.
The major risks facing the Company are clearly identified in the Strategic Report on page 20. The Company relies on internal and external assessments of its systems for managing risk and it believes the continuous implementation of recommendations from these reviews provide the Board with adequate assurance that its systems for managing risks are effective.
5. Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair
The Board’s role is to agree the Company’s long-term direction and strategy and monitor achievement of key milestones against its business objectives. The Board meets formally at least four times a year for these purposes and holds additional meetings when necessary to transact other business. The Board receives reports for consideration on all significant strategic, operational and financial matters. In the current year the Board has held four board meetings.
The Board is supported by the audit and remuneration and the nomination committees, detailed below.
The Board comprises Chairman. John Teeling (Executive Chairman), the Managing Director James Campbell, Financial Director and Company Secretary, James Finn, and two non-executive directors, David Horgan and Robert Bouquet. Currently James Campbell is a full time employee. Executive and non-executive directors are subject to re-election intervals as prescribed in the Company’s Articles of Association. At each Annual General Meeting one-third of the Directors, who are subject to retirement by rotation shall retire from office. They can then offer themselves for re- election. On appointment the director receives a letter of appointment from the Company. The Non- Executive Directors receive a fee for their services as a director which is approved by the Board, being mindful of the time commitment and responsibilities of their roles and of current market rates for comparable organisations and appointments. The time commitment required from the Directors varies year to year depending on the extent of exploration activity being performed by the Company. The non-executive directors dedicate as much time as is required for them to fully carry out their duties for the Group including overseeing corporate governance arrangements and serving on board committees. The non-executive Directors are reimbursed for travelling and other incidental expenses incurred on Company business. None of the Directors are deemed to be independent as they each hold shares in the Company.
6. 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 which it embodies is appropriate for the size and stage of development of the Company and that the Board has the skills and requisite experience necessary to execute the Company’s strategy and business plan whilst also enabling each director to discharge his or her fiduciary duties effectively.
The Board members’ diverse range of skills and experience span technical, financial, operational and legal areas relevant to the management of the Company. Biographies of each Board member are shown below. Directors keep their skill sets up to date by attendance at, and participation in, various events organised by their respective industry sectors and/or by participation in continuing professional development courses. It strives to align directors’ responsibilities with their individual skills so they can optimally contribute to its current strategy and business model. While the Board has not yet adopted any formal policy on gender balance, ethnicity or age group, it is committed to fair and equal opportunity and fostering diversity subject to ensuring appointees are appropriately qualified and experienced for their roles. The Company acknowledges that as it expands its operations across different countries, it will be to its benefit to align its Board composition to reflect balance in the ethnicity and gender of its members.
The Company retains the services of independent advisors across financial, legal, investor relations, technical/engineering and IT fields that are always available to the Board. These advisors provide support and guidance to the Board and complement the Company’s internal expertise.
Details of the current Board of Directors biographies are as follows:
John Teeling Executive Chairman
John Teeling is Executive Chairman of Botswana Diamonds. He has over 40 years’ resources experience. Teeling is also involved in a number of other AIM exploration companies. He is a serial entrepreneur in the resource sector having founded African Diamonds and created Pan Andean Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold and West African Diamonds, all listed on AIM. The deal which saw Lucara (part of Lundin Group) takeover African Diamonds in 2010 was worth in the region of $90 million.
He is also the founder and a former director of Kenmare Resources, a former director of Arcon and he holds interests in a number of industrial ventures. As chairman of Cooley Distillery he oversaw its sale to Jim Beam for $95 million. Teeling holds degrees in Economics and Business from University College Dublin, an MBA from Wharton and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard. He lectured for 20 years in business and finance at University College Dublin.
James Campbell Managing Director
James Campbell is Managing Director of Botswana Diamonds plc. He has spent over 35 years in the diamond industry in a variety of roles. Previous roles include Chief Executive Office and President of Rockwell Diamonds Inc, Non- Executive Director of Stellar Diamonds plc, Vice President – New Business for Lucara Diamond Corp, Managing Director of African Diamonds plc and Executive Deputy Chairman of West African Diamonds plc.
Prior to that James spent over twenty years at De Beers, with notable appointments including General Manager for Advanced Exploration and Resource Delivery and Nicky Oppenheimer’s Personal Assistant. James holds a degree in Mining and Exploration Geology from the Royal School of Mines (Imperial College, London University) and an MBA with distinction from Durham University. James is a Fellow of the Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Materials, South African Institute of Mining & Metallurgy, Geological Society of South Africa and Institute of Directors of South Africa. He is also a Chartered Engineer (UK), Chartered Scientist (UK) and a Professional Natural Scientist (RSA). As part of his social commitment to South Africa, James is Chairman of Common Purpose SA.
James Finn Finance Director and Company Secretary
James Finn is Finance Director and Company Secretary of Botswana Diamonds. He has over 20 years’ experience in working with exploration companies. Finn has extensive experience in the administration of oil and gas and minerals companies. He has been responsible for listing several resource sector companies on AIM in London, including two of the first companies ever listed on AIM, Pan Andean Resources and African Gold.
Finn was previously Finance Director of African Diamonds and West African Diamonds. He holds a degree in Management and an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification.
David Horgan Non-Executive Director
David Horgan is a director at Botswana Diamonds. He has extensive African experience. Horgan has over 20 years’ experience in oil and gas and resources projects in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East through a number of AIM listed companies including Clontarf Energy, Petrel Resources and Pan Andean Resources. He previously worked at Kenmare where he raised finance, captured the premium graphite worldwide market and evaluated investment opportunities.
Prior to that he worked with Boston Consulting Group internationally for seven years. He holds a first class law degree from Cambridge and an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School. Horgan speaks several languages including Portuguese, Spanish and German.
Robert Bouquet Non-Executive Director
Robert Bouquet is a director at Botswana Diamonds. He has over 20 years’ experience in the diamond industry, 14 of which he spent with De Beers and Rio Tinto Diamonds in a variety of strategic and commercial roles. On the commercial side Bouquet has worked in strategic roles as well as a sales manager for Rio Tinto and as a rough diamond buyer for De Beers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea. He has wide experience in diamond producing countries, particularly in Africa, as well as in all diamond cutting centres. He has a degree in Management and French from the University of Leeds.
Details of the current Board of Directors biographies are on the Company’s website at the link below
All Directors have access to the Company Secretary who is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures and applicable rules and regulations are observed.
7. Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement
Review of the Company’s progress against the long terms strategy and aims of the business provides a means to measure the effectiveness of the Board.
In accordance with provisions of the Code, a performance evaluation of the Board is carried out annually. In 2022, the performance evaluation process was conducted internally.
Board Evaluation Process in June 2022
The Chairman John Teeling appraised the Board on the performance of each of the Directors during the year. The Board formally concluded on its own performance, on the performance of Committees and on the performance of individual Directors, including the Chairman.
Analysis of 2022 evaluation
The evaluation indicated a high level of satisfaction with the composition, performance and effectiveness of the Board, its Chair and Committees. It found that there are good communications both within the Board/ Committees and with management. A number of key focus areas were identified for the Board to consider. These include:
• Continued consideration of succession planning at Board and management level
• Increased allocation of Board meeting time to consideration of strategic issues
• Increased diversity on the Board
Arising from the evaluation process, a number of actions were agreed by the Board which will be implemented by the Chairman during the current year.
8. Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours
and national authorities.
The Board recognises that their decisions regarding strategy and risk will impact the corporate culture of the Company and that this will impact performance. The Board is very aware that the tone and culture set by the Board will greatly impact all aspects of the Company and the way that employees behave. The exploration for and development of mineral resources can have significant impact in the areas where the Company and its contractors are active and it is important that the communities in which we operate view Company’s activities positively. Therefore, sound ethical values and behaviours is crucial to the ability of the Company to successfully achieve its corporate objectives. The Board places great importance on this aspect of corporate life and seeks to ensure that this is reflected in all the Company does. The Company has an established code for Directors’ and employees’ dealings in securities which is appropriate for a company whose securities are traded on AIM, and is in accordance with Rule 21 of the AIM rules and the Market Abuse Regulation.
9. 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 ensuring the Non-Executive Directors are properly briefed on all operational and financial matters. The Chairman has overall responsibility for corporate governance matters in the Company and chairs the Nomination Committee. The Managing Director has the responsibility for implementing the strategy of the Board and managing the day-to-day business activities of the Company. The Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures are followed and applicable rules and regulations are complied with.
The Nomination Committee
The Nomination Committee comprises the Chairman, Managing Director, Company Secretary and the Non-Executive Directors and usually meets at least once per year to examine Board appointments and to make recommendations to the Board in accordance with best practice and other applicable rules and regulations. The Nomination Committee did not meet this year as there were no changes to the board.
The Audit Committee
The Audit Committee, which is chaired by Managing Director, James Campbell, and also includes David Horgan meets at least twice a year to assist the Board in meeting responsibilities in respect of external financial reporting and internal controls. James Finn, the Company’s Financial Director and Company Secretary also attends these meetings. The Audit Committee also keeps under review the scope and results of the audit. It also considers the cost-effectiveness, independence and objectivity of the
Auditor taking account of any non-audit services provided by them.
The Remuneration Committee
The Remuneration Committee is comprised of Non-Executive Directors, David Horgan and Robert Bouquet. The Remuneration Committee meets at least once a year to determine the appropriate remuneration for the Company’s executive directors, ensuring that this reflects their performance and that of the Company. The Company has a share option scheme and also issues warrants to subscribe for shares to executive directors and employees.
The Company’s Audit Committee Report is presented on page 33 and provides further details on the committee’s activities during 2022, and while a separate report from the Remuneration Committee was not produced due to the size of the company, the Company intends to review this requirement on an annual basis.
10. Communicate how the company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with shareholders and other relevant stakeholders
The Board is committed to maintaining good communication and having constructive dialogue with its shareholders. Institutional shareholders and analysts have the opportunity to discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company.
Investors also have access to current information on the Company through its website www.botswanadiamonds.co.uk and through James Campbell, Managing Director who is available to answer investor relations enquiries. In addition, all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting and any other General Meetings that are held throughout the year.
The Company’s financial reports can be found on their website www.botswanadiamonds.co.uk
In addition, the Company also uses Social Media platforms and provides access to news releases and general news relating to the Company’s business through twitter (@BotswanaDiamond), Facebook (BotswanaDiamondsPLC) and the Company page on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/Botswana Diamonds/).