By Antonio Ruffini, Editor, Mining Review Africa

Mining Review Africa has evolved and changed over the years just as the industry it serves evolves and changes. Notably it made the successful transition from being an alternate monthly to a monthly publication during a global economic crisis. Mining Review Africa also saw the overarching management structure and ownership of the organisation to which it belongs change dramatically; from being part of a medium size enterprise it became a cog in a large billion dollar multinational group.

This could have been tricky since publications like Mining Review Africa often thrive best as entrepreneurial activities. However, the management of Spintelligent and the larger Clarion group to which it belongs recognise this and have allowed the publication to continue to be run as a semi-independent entity. That gives Mining Review Africa the best of both worlds, as it can combine entrepreneurial enthusiasm with the support and backing of a very strong corporate entity that creates opportunities unavailable to the majority of our competitors.

We have also used the beginning of a new year to make some changes. We are having a look at the layout of the magazine to freshen that up and improve it and hopefully you will see and like the results.

We have made some other significant changes. In the spirit of the entrepreneurial approach the magazine looks to follow, as of the start of 2012, Victoria Stephen, who is the new CEO of Stephen Marketing, an independent company aligned with Spintelligent, takes over the role and duties of publisher. Victoria has literally grown up in the industry under the mentorship of sales and marketing veteran Bob Stephen, her father, and even as an adolescent travelled with the team to remote destinations in Africa. Mining publishing is in her blood, Victoria brings new ideas and is very dynamic and enthusiastic; this is already having a positive impact.

There are changes on the editorial side. Deputy editor Lionel Williams, who is also our online editor, has been doing a very good job of tracking down busy mining executives to get fresh news on their plans and insights into the state of the mining industry. He will continue in that role. Lionel has taken it upon himself to do the stories that take some effort to source, such as tracking down ministers in the Eritrean government to get their views, such as getting the views of First Quantum management following the DRC debacle, speaking to the gold mining majors and management of other groups who are not always easy to access, etc. This genuine approach to mining journalism is an important attribute, which we believe helps differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

While I will remain with the Spintelligent group, I am stepping down as editor of Mining Review Africa to focus on the energy (electrical) sector with ESI Africa. For the past 18 months I have been fulfilling a duel role as editor of more than one publication and believe this is not a long term solution. Mining Review Africa will be better off with a more focused editor. We have sought out someone with both experience in mining publishing and, importantly, someone who is technically sound in terms of understanding the mining sector and its various technologies.

Andrew Lanham has agreed to become the new editor of Mining Review Africa. I believe he is a good choice for a variety of reasons. He understands the mining sector very well, having worked on a mine as a young man, and later was part of the Gold Fields group. He has also edited and worked for a variety of mining publications and has proved himself in mining publishing. He has proven his willingness to cover a lot of ground to visit mining operations to do stories and has risked his life and shed blood to do so. Being a mining editor is a job one gets better at as one becomes more experienced, provided one retains the energy and enthusiasm for it, and Andrew ticks all the boxes everyone had in mind. We are very pleased to have him on board.

As Africa becomes more important in the overall mining sector mix relative to South Africa, we believe Mining Review Africa is perfectly placed as the only monthly mining publication that has a genuine focus and reach across the continent. We believe we have everything in place for success, in adding value for our readers and clients in the mining sector, as the Mining Review Africa journey enters a new phase.