UK – African Minerals Limited announces that the Board has accepted the resignation of Keith Calder, Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of the Company.
Over the last 12 months Keith has successfully overseen the completion of construction of the large 1B wet process facility, ramp up of production, completion of the second large wagon dumper, and the installation of a new lay bye berth, all of which have allowed the Company to achieve its stated target of reaching a run rate of 20Mtpa, as announced in June 2013.
The Company has had the benefit of Keith’s management and guidance, and would like to thank him for his contribution to the Company’s transformation over the last twelve months.
The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Bernard Pryor, currently a director of the Company, as Executive Director and CEO, effective immediately.
Mr. Pryor, aged 56, is currently a non-executive independent director of AML, having joined the Board in 2011. Prior to this position he was the Chief Executive Officer of Q Resources PLC. Between 2006 and 2010 he held senior executive positions within Anglo American PLC as Head of Business Development, and CEO of Anglo Ferrous Brazil Inc, where he oversaw the development of the 6Mtpa Amapa iron ore mine. From 2000 to 2006 he was Director and Chief Operating Officer of Adastra Minerals Inc, developing the Kolwezi tailings deposit in DRC, immediately prior to its takeover by First Quantum Minerals. Before that he held several executive management positions with international mining companies, as well as with Minproc Engineers Limited.
Mr. Pryor is a graduate of Imperial College, London, from where he received a BSc (Hons) in Metallurgical Engineering.
The Company also confirms Alan Watling’s appointment as special advisor to the Chairman and the Board regarding infrastructure. Alan’s role will be help to optimize the existing operational rail and port infrastructure, and its future expanded capacity. Alan is an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience of major rail and port infrastructure, principally with Rio Tinto, and is currently CEO of Pan African Minerals Limited, a Timis Group company. Previously Alan was CEO of African Minerals from 2009 to 2012, laying the foundations for the current project, and prior to that was Chief Operating Officer of Fortescue Metals Group.
Executive Chairman, Frank Timis, commented: “We are grateful for all that Keith has done for the Company over the last twelve months, and we wish him well.
However, we must look to the future, and we are very pleased to have Bernie to be his successor. Bernie is a well-known and respected executive in the London market and the wider global mining industry. His world class project management experience, and that gained recently within Anglo American’s major iron ore operations and projects in Brazil, will serve us well.
He shares the same view as the rest of the Board, that African Minerals must first focus on consistent production and lowering costs, and thereafter develop further growth, and we are pleased that he has accepted the challenge of the next phase of the Company’s success.
Finally, I am pleased to have Alan back in the fold to provide support to the Board and to Bernie.”
Incoming CEO, Bernie Pryor commented: “I am delighted to have been tasked with leading this company forward in this next stage of its development.
My priority will be to ensure that the Tonkolili project consistently produces iron ore at our target rates, reducing operating costs and corporate overheads, while remaining fully aware that we are the custodians of shareholders’ funds, without whose support the project would not have been possible.
To achieve this we will utilise the experience of the senior management of the Company, and that of our partner Shandong Iron and Steel Group, to identify issues and provide solutions, empower leadership and motivate creativity, and encourage our people to be part of this ongoing success story, in order to achieve our stated targets.”
About African Minerals
African Minerals operates the Tonkolili Iron Ore Project (the “Project”) in Sierra Leone, with a JORC compliant resource of 12.8Bnt. The Project, which currently has a 60+ year mine-life, is being developed in a number of staged expansions. The current Project operations are expected to produce 20 million tonnes of iron ore per annum at full capacity, with this run-rate of production having first been achieved in June 2013.
The next stage of Project expansion now contemplates the production of up to 35Mtpa of 64% high grade hematite concentrate and the expansion of the current port facilities at Pepel, expected to enter production in 2016.
The Company has also developed significant port and rail infrastructure to support the operation of the Project, via its subsidiary African Rail and Port Services (SL) Limited (“ARPS”), in which the Government of Sierra Leone (“GoSL”) has a 10% free carried interest.
The Project companies are currently owned 75% by AML, and 25% by Shandong Iron and Steel Group (“SISG”), except for ARPS, which is currently owned 75% by AML and 25% by SISG, with the GoSL having the right to a 10% free carried interest from AML.
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