Updated: Dissidents in proxy battle sue Taseko

A bitter proxy battle between a dissident shareholder group and key directors within...

Taseko's New Prosperity mine project, which was rejected by the federal government | BIV archives

This story has been updated with information that was not available at the time of publishing.

A bitter proxy battle between a dissident shareholder group and key directors within Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) is escalating.

The shareholder group, collectively known as Raging River Capital LP, has launched a lawsuit in BC Supreme Court against Taseko Mines  and three Taseko directors: Russell Hallbauer, Ronald Thiessen and Robert Dickinson. Also named in the suit is Taseko corporate secretary Trevor Thomas.

Raging River is asking the court to find against those named in the suit over the acquisition of Curis Resources Ltd. by Taseko.

They claim the directors were conflicted because they are also directors for Hunter Dickinson Inc., (HDI), a privately owned company that held positions in both Taseko and Curis Resources Ltd., which Taseko ended up acquiring. According to Raging River's claim, Taseko is a public company that is "managed and controlled by  privately held HDI and its representatives."

Raging River alleges that those named in the suit benefited from the acquisition to the detriment of other Taseko shareholders and that the acquisition was not approved through a shareholder vote. Although the petition filed in BC Supreme Court does not put a dollar figure to the claim, Raging River said in a press release that it is seeking $110 million in damages on the behalf of Taseko shareholders.

“Raging River alleges that Taseko Mines' acquisition of the failing Curis – which included assets that proved to be essentially worthless – constituted a related party transaction, and that the failure by Taseko's board of directors to allow shareholders to vote on the acquisition constitutes oppressive conduct,” Raging River states in a press release.

In a written statement, Taseko said the suit was without merit.

“After reviewing the lawsuit with counsel, Taseko is of the view the claim is wholly without merit and is yet another Raging River proxy contest  tactic that won’t work. Taseko’s Florence Copper project is a valuable asset. The acquisition of Curis Resources, which previously owned Florence Copper, followed all corporate best practices as outlined in Taseko’s Management Information Circular on pages 29 to 33.  Taseko will vigorously defend the lawsuit"

For more on the Taseko-Raging River proxy war, read Taseko Mines shareholder proxy battle heats up.

nbennett@biv.com

Check out BIV’s podcast for the week of April 4, 2016: