UPDATE 11am: Joe Gutnick's return to the WA mining industry has been thrown into disarray after Blackham Resources this morning sacked him as chairman and is taking legal action against him for not providing $6 million in promised funding.
Blackham said Mr Gutnick had not personally attended a board meeting since last November, breaching company rules.
"The board (excluding Mr Gutnick) no longer have confidence in Mr Gutnick to perform his duties in the best interests of the shareholders of the company,” a Blackham statement said.
The board has appointed managing director Bryan Dixon as chairman to replace Mr Gutnick.
Blackham has separately filed a writ against Mr Gutnick and his privately owed Great Central Gold over allegations the rich-lister had failed to make good on an agreement to subscribe to $6 million in convertible notes.
The company flagged the legal action in a June prospectus, saying Mr Gutnick and Great Central were in breach of obligations to subscribe for 24 million convertible notes, part of last year's agreement to invest $10 million in the Wiluna-focused explorer.
The writ also alleges misleading and deceptive conduct by Mr Gutnick.
Mr Gutnick owns about 27 per cent of Blackham and was appointed its chairman last year.
He has responded to the company's actions by requisitioning a meeting of shareholders to dismiss Bryan Dixon, Greg Miles and Alan Thom as directors of Blackham and to appoint Ian
Daymond and Stuart Munroe to replace them.
"The company is currently receiving legal advice on this notice," Blackham said in a statement.
Blackham's move comes after Mr Gutnick shuffled his shareholding in the company in May, transferring part of his holding to London-listed Polo Resources.
In May, Polo picked up 49 per cent of Mr Gutnick's Perfectus Management, which owns about half of his total 31.8 million shares stake in Blackham.
That sparked speculation of a takeover play by Polo, whose directors have links to a group of Singaporean-listed investment companies, including gold play LionGold Corp, which last year acquired another one-time Gutnick-chaired explorer, Acadian Mining.
In response, Blackham moved to dilute Mr Gutnick's holding, last month issuing 7.8 million shares to British institutional investor Lanstead Capital.
Mr Gutnick stormed into the WA mining scene in 1995 after buying the Jundee and Bronze- wing gold deposits through a $173 million cash and share deal with veteran prospector Mark Creasy.
After the takeover of Great Central Mines by Normandy Mining (now Newmont Mining) in 2000, Mr Gutnick's return to his old stomping ground through Blackham was capped with the latter's acquisition of the one-time Gutnick-controlled Wiluna Gold operation from the ashes of Apex Minerals.
Blackham shares were off two cents, or 9.09 per cent, to 20 cents at 11am.