Novo Litio's Frances resigns

Novo Litio’s (AU:NLI) managing director David Frances has resigned for personal reasons and has returned to Australia from Portugal, closing a tumultuous 2017 for the company.

David Frances has resigned and returned to Australia

David Frances has resigned and returned to Australia

Frances' CEO role will be taken up by executive technical director Francis Wedin.

With Novo in dispute with the vendor of its former flagship Sepeda project in Portugal, Frances is set to continue "to work closely with the NLI board as an advisor to the company, to assist NLI with its ongoing legal proceedings".

Frances joined Novo two years ago to the day when the company, then known as Dakota Minerals, acquired lithium ground in the Pilbara region of Western Australia from Asgard Metals (a subsidiary of AIM-listed Ariana Resources (LN:AAU)), and private equity firm Slipstream Resources.

The move into Portugal occurred in June 2016, with the Pilbara ground subsequently divested to lithium developer Pilbara Minerals (AU:PLS) for A$5 million (US$3.8 million) cash and $3 million worth of shares in October of that same year - with the shares ultimately realising $4.8 million when sold.

However, the move into Portugal has been marred by a big stoush with the vendor of Sepeda, including threats of violence.

The basis of the dispute has never been revealed by Novo.

While legal action is continuing, Novo last week said its focus was being placed more squarely on its other projects, including its lithium play in Sweden.

For shareholders, the past two years have been an ‘interesting' ride.

Having been at about $0.025 when Frances arrived, the stock subsequently posted a 10-fold gain over the following six months.

However, the stock closed last week at $0.051 capitalising Novo at $19 million.

The company has about $16.8 million of cash, with $12.3 million raised from investors in May 2016 at a price of $0.20 per share.

*Michael Quinn is a senior reporter at MiningNews.net

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