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Dominion in Flux as CEO Resigns

Oct 20, 2020 8:12 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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Patrick Merrin has stepped down as interim CEO of Dominion Diamond Mines, deeming it “appropriate” to focus on his position at the rough producer’s parent company.

Merrin, who is chief operating officer at the Washington Companies, took on the lead role at Dominion when Shane Durgin left in February. The miner’s full executive team will run the company temporarily until a solution is found.

“The executive team, led by chief financial officer Kristal Kaye, chief operating officer Mike Welch and chairman Brendan Bell, are collaborating to come up with the best alternative plan to secure a strong and stable future for the Ekati mine,” a Dominion spokesperson told Rapaport News Monday.

The exit is the latest trial Dominion has faced since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused it to file for bankruptcy protection as its debt mounted. Earlier this month, a sale of the miner to affiliates of the Washington Companies fell through after the prospective buyers failed to reach an arrangement with insurers to cover the site’s future costs.

Many of the mine’s workers were furloughed when the deposit was put on care and maintenance in April to stem the spread of the pandemic. While Dominion had hoped to restart operations and call back its employees, it is instead weighing job cuts.

“During recent months, Dominion has faced unprecedented challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and global shutdown of diamond sales,” the spokesperson continued. “Unfortunately, the recent development with the sale process will force us to conserve cash as much as possible in the near term, which could mean extending furloughs or making permanent layoffs.”

However, Dominion, which will remain in creditor protection until November 7, is still looking for a way to restart operations.

“Dominion is currently working with its financial and legal advisers to evaluate its alternatives so that it can determine the best path forward,” the spokesperson added. “We are focused on finding a solution to resume operations at Ekati.”

Image: The Ekati mine. (Dominion Diamond Mines)
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Tags: Brendan Bell, COVID-19, Dominion, Dominion Diamond Mines, Ekati mine, Kristal Kaye, Leah Meirovich, Mike Welch, Patrick Merrin, Shane Durgin, The Washington Companies
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