FAIRBANKS — Tom Irwin of Fairbanks will become president and chief executive officer of International Tower Hill Mines as it prepares to slash jobs.
Irwin will assume his new role for the British Columbia-based global mining company on Jan. 1. He spent the past two years as a company vice president, overseeing its Livengood gold project about 70 miles north of Fairbanks.
His promotion comes as the company is cutting about 30 percent of its staff and slicing its board of directors from seven members to three.
Irwin told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that the moves are designed to conserve cash, advance discussions with other companies and continue environmental studies required for permitting.
He says his promotion is a sign of the company’s interest in the Livengood prospect, which has a projected take of more than 8 million ounces of gold. He dismissed concerns about the viability of the project amid falling gold prices.
“We believe in this project,” Irwin said. “We’ll do our part, we want the gold price to do its job, and we’ll move forward.”
Irwin succeeds Don Ewigleben, who became CEO in September 2012 and will stay on as a consultant. Before joining the company, Irwin spent six years as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Earlier, he held senior positions at the Fort Knox mine, 45 miles southeast of the Livengood project.
Irwin will continue to live in Interior Alaska, where his daughters and grandchildren also reside. He said he wouldn’t have accepted the promotion if he had to leave home.