Northern Minerals executive chairman Nick Curtis is being targeted by Chinese interests accused of a covert attempt to gain control of the strategically important rare earths player.
The Yuxiao Fund wants Mr Curtis removed from the board and permission to inspect Northern Minerals’ books so it can “review the legality and compliance of Nicholas Curtis’ conduct in the performance of his duties as a director and an officer”.
Yuxiao Fund has requisitioned Northern Minerals to call a general meeting to consider resolutions that would dump Mr Curtis from the board with immediate effect and open up the company’s books.
The Yuxiao Fund wants to oust Mr Curtis after Northern Minerals asked the Foreign Investment Review Board to probe whether a series of share acquisitions were being orchestrated by Chinese interests as a way around a federal government ban imposed earlier this year.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers blocked Singapore-registered Yuxiao Fund increasing its stake in Northern Minerals to 19.9 per cent from 9.81 per cent almost nine months ago.
Iluka Resources, which is building Australia’s first fully integrated rare earths refinery with $1.25 billion federal government funding, is helping to finance the development of Northern Minerals’ heavy rare earths Browns Range project in Western Australia.
Yuxiao Fund is controlled by Chinese businessman Wu Tao, whose company, Africa Great Wall, is a big player in mineral sands mining in Mozambique and a supplier of ilmenite into China.
Iluka’s core business is minerals sands and Africa Great Wall is a rival in ilmenite supply.
Yuxaio Fund recently nominated Mr Wu for a seat on the Northern Minerals board with the nomination seconded by Sun Bo, who owns less than 1 per cent of theRead more on afr.com