The current commodity climate is not only seeing mines across the globe move onto care and maintenance, but is also seeing CEO’s ‘falling like flies’.In the space of just a few months, numerous announcements have been made regarding companies’ CEOs, resigning or simply leaving with “immediate effect”.
African Minerals Limited, the developer, operator and 75% owner of the Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone is the latest to make this list having recently announced that its CEO and director Alan Watling resigned – “effective immediately”.
Over the last six months, since Watling rejoined the company at the request of both African Minerals and its minority partner, Shandong Iron and Steel Group (SISG), he has successfully delivered all operational targets that were expected. He ramped up production to nine vessels a month, even during the wet season, successfully reduced costs, and at least partially addressed the impasse that had been reached with SISG. During this time, African Minerals also continued to protect its Ebola protocols such that the incidence rate at the project was still zero.
Unfortunately, despite all his efforts, Tonkolili was placed on care and maintenance late last year, due to unnaturally low iron ore prices. The company’s shares also remain suspended.
Even more severe is the company’s decision not to replace Watling, adding it “will consider this and the board structure further once there is a clear path to recommencement of operations.”
“This is now out of my hands; our operations are in care and maintenance, our employees are safe, and I feel I have lost the respect of – and for – our partners. In these circumstances I feel I have done all I can and am left with no option other than to resign,” says Watling.
Will the industry see further resignations due to the current economic climate? Add your opinion to the comments section below.