TanzaniaAcacia Mining, the LSE-listed Tanzania focused mining company, announced the appointment of Michelle Ash as COO on Thursday.

Ash will be based in Dar es Salaam to ensure that Acacia is fully able to realise the geological potential of its Tanzanian assets, which include its three mines Bulyanhulu, Buzwagi and North Mara, as well as its exploration targets in the Lake Victoria Gold Fields.

Ash joined Acacia in October 2013 as executive general manager of business improvement and planning and has driven significant change across Acacia’s operations in that time, the company said in a statement.

While at Acacia, she has been instrumental in the creation of Acacia’s business improvement structures and strategy, playing an integral role in bringing more discipline into planning processes, enhancing operational performance and implementing the company’s cultural change programme.

With more than 20 years of experience within the mining and manufacturing industries, Ash has been employed in several senior roles including head of alliance planning and coordination for the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and general manager for strategy for MMG.

In addition to her existing responsibilities Ash is currently acting general manager of the Bulyanhulu gold mine, but following the recruitment of a new mine general manager will relinquish this role in the coming months.

“I am delighted that Michelle will be taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer within Acacia. I feel that now is the appropriate time to split the role of CEO and COO to continue to embed and enhance the changes we have made since 2013 and Michelle’s technical expertise, people skills and energy make her a natural choice for the role.

“She has already made a significant contribution to the evolution of the company over the past 18 months and I look forward to working closely with her as we seek to become a lowest cost quartile producer and realise the significant potential of our mines and our people,” says Acacia Mining CEO Brad Gordon.

Project update

Acacia also announced this week that it has commenced stoping operations ahead of schedule at its Gokona Underground project at North Mara, with the first ore having been delivered to the process plant.

The company says that the first stope has to date demonstrated the expected geotechnical characteristics and delivered both grade and ore tons in line with the mine plan.

Acacia expects a progressive increase in tons from the project as it ramps up through the year and will maintains current expectations for production from the Gokona Underground for the full year, the company said in a statement.

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