Rio Tinto Extends CEO Sam Walsh's Term
Mining giant Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) (ASX:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) has announced it will retain the services of CEO Sam Walsh next year and beyond after his fixed-term retirement date was replaced with a long-term, open-ended contract.
The uncertainty around the CEO’s position at the company fueled speculation that an impending boardroom implosion would make Rio Tinto vulnerable for a takeover.
Walsh, 64, was due to end his contract in December 2015 but Rio Tinto said the “decision to extend his tenure has been an easy one for the board.”
“For quite some time, Sam has made no secret of the fact that he loves his job and would like to continue well beyond next year,” said Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis. “Given his performance and his enthusiasm to continue in the role, the decision to extend his tenure has been an easy one for the board.”
According to Plessis, Chris Lynch, chief financial officer, would also have his fixed term retirement date replaced by a long-term, open-ended commitment to the company.
“Since their appointments early last year, Sam and Chris have led a transformation of the business and established a track record of delivering on their promises.”
He added, “Rio Tinto has increased cash flows from operations, achieved significant operating cash cost improvements, reduced net debt and refocused capital expenditure on projects with the most compelling returns.”
Walsh joined Rio Tinto in 1991, replacing Tom Albanese as chief executive in 2013.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.