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Feb 01, 2024
Nisga’a Nation to Contribute Initial Royalties on Large-Scale, Diversified Canadian Mineral Assets
Experienced Financial, Technical and Social Governance Professionals to be Appointed to Executive and Board
Nations Royalty Set to Become Canada’s Largest Majority Indigenous-Owned Public Company, Poised for Future Growth
VANCOUVER, BC and GITLAXT’AAMIKS, BC, Feb. 1, 2024 /CNW/ – In a groundbreaking development for Canada’s natural resources and Indigenous business sector, the Nisga’a Nation and Vega Mining Inc. (“Vega”) announce that they have entered into an agreement dated February 1, 2024, pursuant to which, among other things, Vega will acquire from the Nisga’a Nation the rights to five annual benefit payment entitlements (the “Royalties”) in Benefit Agreements the Nisga’a Nation has in place in respect of mines and projects within the Golden Triangle Area located in northwest British Columbia, in exchange for common shares in the capital of Vega (the “Transaction”). Upon completion of the Transaction, Vega will be majority owned by the Nisga’a Nation and will be renamed “Nations Royalty Corp.” (“Nations Royalty” or the “Company”).
Figure 1. Mines and Development Projects within Nisga’a Treaty Lands (CNW Group/Vega Mining Inc.)
The Company’s vision is to unite First Nations and Indigenous groups across Canada, welcoming external investors to join the Company as shareholders. Together, they will combine royalties from mining projects, tapping into the growth, diversification and value potential typical of publicly traded royalty companies.
On closing, Nations Royalty is set to become Canada’s largest majority Indigenous-owned public company, poised to be a significant player in the mining royalty sector. The Company is in discussions with other First Nations and Indigenous groups to join the Company in the near future, marking a transformative moment in Canada’s mining landscape, characterized by unity, empowerment, and a shared vision for the future.
Nations Royalty’s foundation begins with the Royalties that the Nisga’a Nation has in place in respect of the following properties:
For further information regarding the Transaction, including terms and conditions to closing, please see ‘Transaction Details’ below.
Eva Clayton, President of Nisga’a Lisims Government, stated: “Our people have a history of leadership and innovation, from significant legal victories to the first Modern Treaty in British Columbia. Today, we embark on this new venture with Indigenous groups and leaders from the mining industry to promote cooperation and progress, ushering in a new era in Indigenous business, as well as Canada’s mining and natural resources sector.”
Charles Morven, Secretary-Treasurer of Nisga’a Lisims Government, stated: “We look forward to collaborating with First Nations across Canada and Indigenous communities worldwide, as well as outside shareholders, through Nations Royalty. Our portfolio of Royalties are from Tier 1 and Tier 2 assets equally diversified across gold and copper, providing a strong foundation to grow the Company. This transaction allows us to bring forward the future value of our Royalties and retain the Net-Asset Value (“NAV”) multiple and diversification afforded to public royalty companies. Our objective is to establish the Company as a long-term, dividend-paying cornerstone investment for the Nisga’a Nation.”
Frank Giustra, Strategic Advisor to Nations Royalty, stated: “I am honored to collaborate with the Nisga’a and other First Nations in establishing this essential new company. Almost two decades ago, I played a role in developing the metals streaming concept as a co-founder of Wheaton Precious Metals and I see Nations Royalty as a vitally important successor to this concept. Also, by empowering First Nation entrepreneurs and leaders, we aim to inspire numerous Indigenous companies to participate in Capital Markets across various industries.
Over the past 30 years, most new mines in Canada have royalties included in Benefit/Collaborative Agreements, a majority of which have been through Canada’s rigorous permitting processes, which involves consultation with and consent from Indigenous Peoples. Nisga’a see this as a tremendous growth opportunity as first movers in this space, with the potential to achieve a premium NAV afforded to other public royalty companies. Through the vision of combining additional Indigenous held royalties, Nations Royalty will provide an opportunity for Indigenous groups across Canada and potentially globally, to achieve diversification through different regions and commodities.
Nations Royalty will create a unique opportunity for economic reconciliation and increased transparency in the mining industry. A core focus of the Company is to build capacity for Indigenous people in the management of public companies and capital markets, which we hope will result in the creation of additional Indigenous economic ventures. The Company is positioned to set new benchmarks in Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) principles, benefiting indigenous groups, investors, and capital markets.”
1 As disclosed by Ascot Resources Ltd. in a news release dated August 14, 2023.
Co-Founder, Interim President and CEO
Robert McLeod, a third-generation miner from Stewart, BC with deep family ties to Nisga’a leadership over the past seventy years. Rob has had a pivotal role in Nations Royalty’s inception and bringing the Nisga’a Nation and Vega together to pursue this exciting opportunity. In the near future, it is expected that he will be appointed as interim President and CEO of the Company. It is the goal of Nations Royalty to be managed and run by Indigenous people. Upon the completion of the Transaction, Nations Royalty’s management team will be comprised of individuals possessing extensive expertise in Indigenous engagement, benefit agreement negotiations, finance, technical due diligence, and marketing, with a strong emphasis on Indigenous leadership at the forefront.
Board of Directors
Upon closing of the Transaction, the Board of Directors of Nations Royalty will be reconstituted to consist of up to six persons, four of whom will be nominated by the Nisga’a Nation and two will be independent directors. These four director candidates will be announced in the following weeks. It is currently intended that the two independent directors will be Matthew Coon Come and Alex Morrison.
Matthew Coon Come is a prominent Indigenous leader, known for his influential advocacy and tireless efforts in advancing the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples. He is a member of the Cree Nation and hails from the Mistissini community. Mr. Coon Come gained international recognition during his tenure as the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) from 2000 to 2003, where he championed issues related to indigenous sovereignty, land rights, and social justice. His leadership extended beyond Canada, advocating for Indigenous rights on the global stage. Mr. Coon Come’s dedication to indigenous self-determination and his commitment to bridging gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities have left a lasting legacy in the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights and reconciliation in Canada and worldwide. In 2018, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his exceptional contributions. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Seabridge Gold and previously served on the Board of Directors of Newmont Corporation and previously Goldcorp Inc.
Alex Morrison is a professional director and experienced mining executive with over 35 years experience in the mining industry. He has vast multidisciplinary experience in senior strategic roles in finance, accounting, information technology, supply chain, risk management and operations support at major mining companies including Newmont Mining, Homestake Mining, Phelps Dodge and Stillwater Mining. His most relevant experience to his role as a Director at Nations Royalty is his former role as Chief Financial Officer at Franco Nevada, a leading international gold royalty company. He has held diverse corporate director, chairman and lead director roles for a broad list of mining companies including Detour Gold, Taseko Mines, Energy Fuels, Gold Standard Ventures and Gold Resource Corporation. He is a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CA).
The Transaction is expected to be completed by way of a three-cornered amalgamation under the provisions of the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) whereby a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vega (“SubCo”), will amalgamate with Nations Acquisition Corp. (“NationsCo”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nisga’a Nation formed to hold the Royalties prior to closing. All of the issued and outstanding common shares of SubCo and NationsCo following the amalgamation will be immediately exchanged for common shares of Vega on a one-for-one basis (the “Consideration Shares”). Closing of the Transaction is subject to a number of conditions being satisfied or waived by one or both of NationsCo and Vega including, without limitation, obtaining consents required for the assignment of the Royalties to NationsCo, completion of the Concurrent Financing (defined below) and the listing of the Nations Royalty shares on a stock exchange. Prior to closing of the Transaction, Vega will consolidate its shares on a 2:1 basis. The Consideration Shares and most of the currently existing Vega shares will be subject to voluntary pooling restrictions and will be released over a period of 36 months from completion of the Transaction.
NationsCo has been established for the purposes of holding the Royalties for the Transaction. NationsCo will have no other assets or material financial liabilities or obligations.
In connection with the Transaction, it is expected that Vega will change its name to “Nations Royalty Corp.”. Upon completion of the Transaction, assuming a Concurrent Financing (defined below) of $10 million, it is expected that (i) the existing shareholders of Vega will hold approximately 15.9% of the Company’s issued and outstanding shares; (ii) the Nisga’a Nation will hold approximately 76.5% of the Company’s issued and outstanding shares; and (iii) the investors in the Concurrent Financing (defined below) will hold approximately 7.6% of the Company’s issued and outstanding shares.
There can be no assurance that the Transaction will be completed on the proposed terms or at all.
Concurrently with, and as a condition to completion of the Transaction, SubCo will complete a private placement (the “Concurrent Financing”) of not less than 11,111,111 subscription receipts (each, a “Subscription Receipt”) at a price of $0.90 per Subscription Receipt, for aggregate gross proceeds of at least $10 million. All proceeds of the Concurrent Financing will be held in escrow pending satisfaction of the closing conditions to the Transaction. Upon satisfaction of the escrow conditions, immediately prior to completion of the Transaction, each Subscription Receipt will automatically convert into one common share of SubCo for no additional consideration and the shares of SubCo will immediately thereafter be exchanged for common shares of Vega on a one-for-one basis. It is anticipated that proceeds from the Concurrent Financing will be used for working capital and to fund Nations Royalty’s growth strategy.
On behalf of the Nisga’a Nation
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Vega Mining Inc.