African Consolidated Resources plc Announces Board Shuffle
African Consolidated Resources plc has announced important board changes as the company gears up to bring its flagship Pickstone-Peerless Gold Project in Zimbabwe into production.
The AIM-listed resources and development company has appointed a new chairman of the board, William Battershill, who is a highly experienced businessman with an extensive background in the Southern African industrial sector.
Battershill (53), who was born in Zimbabwe, has built an illustrious career in the African steel industry.
He founded a steel trading business in 1985, which eventually developed into JSE listed BSi Steel Limited (‘BSi Steel’), a leading steel distributer focused in sub-Saharan Africa.
Battershill has been Group Executive Chairman of BSi Steel since 2009. BSi Steel employs over 1,000 people in over 20 operations situated in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana, and also has an interest in a Swiss based trade finance business and commodities trading operation.
He also holds a number of partnerships and directorships as well as 15,700,395 ordinary shares of £0.01 each in the Company, representing 1.85 percent of the issued share capital of AFCR.
Eric Diack has been appointed Non-Executive Director and brings with him a vast understanding of the sub-Saharan African industrial and mining landscape with board level experience from major companies including AcelorMittal, Aveng, AMIC, Adcock Ingram, Bidvest and Anglo American Ferrous and Industries.
Diack, who achieved his Bachelor of Accounting in South Africa and served articles at Ernst & Young, moved into the diversified industrials and engineering sector in 1982 at Dorbyl Ltd.
He moved to Anglo American Industrial Corporation in 1996 serving as an Executive Director and was subsequently appointed at Finance Director of the corporation. He holds no shares in the Company.
Staying within the Anglo group companies for a number of years, Diack eventually held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Anglo Ferrous Metals Divisions.
Diack has also served as a director of both Adcock Ingram and ArcelorMittal and has been integral in the negotiation and successful conclusion of multiple transactions during his corporate and entrepreneurial career.
Roy Pitchford, current Acting Chief Executive Officer will become the company’s permanent CEO while Roy Tucker, AFCR’s current chairman will transition into the role of Finance Director. He remains as company secretary.
Outgoing Chairman, Tucker said: “As we refine our investment proposition, and steer the Company towards commercial gold production in the near term from our flagship Pickstone-Peerless Project in Zimbabwe, so too must our board develop and evolve to ensure the right balance of corporate and industry expertise to execute these plans in a capital efficient manner.
“With this in mind, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Will and Eric, both highly distinguished figures in the Southern African business sector, who will provide invaluable support to our operations and strategic direction over the coming months.
“These two new directors, together with our now permanent CEO Roy Pitchford, have the requisite skills to drive operational progress and corporate development.”
Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.