GOLD Fields CEO designate Mike Fraser said he hoped to bring his recent experience as CEO of a junior gold mining firm to the Johannesburg-headquatered group because that was where “opportunities exist”.
Fraser joins Gold Fields in January after having most recently worked as CEO of Charaat Gold, a UK-listed firm with exploration properties in the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan) in central Asia. While he said geopolitical risk would make his previous firm’s prospects less interesting to Gold Fields, he was familiar with deal-making in the sector.
“I took a meander through junior gold mining which brought rich experience I can bring back: how commercial deals in the junior end of the sector are done which is where opportunities exist for further consolidation in time,” he said.
Fraser added he “wasn’t sure” if a final decision had been made on the optimal size of Gold Fields’ production and whether reserve replacement – which he considered a key strategic goal – was an internal or external process.
Gold Fields chair Yunus Suleman fenced off analysts’ questions regarding the future role in Gold Fields for its interim CEO, Martin Preece who told Miningmx earlier this year that he wanted the job. While Preece will remain at the group – he is “a loyal citizen”, Suleman said – it’s unknown of the capacity in which he will be employed.
“It will evolve over the next two months,” said Suleman. “He will remain on the executive team. Mike wants to work with Martin.” Money was not “a driving force” of whether Preece would remain at the company, Suleman said.
Preece was largely credited with turning a profit at Gold Fields’ South African mine South Deep which had been troublesome for the group for more than a decade. He is considered a key part of Gold Fields’ management especially given the high turnover of executive staff since its foiled attempt to buy Yamana Gold just over a year ago.
Gold Fields CFO Paul Schmidt said in August he intended to take early retirement, an announcement that brought to five the number of executives to leave the company since November last year when CEO Chris Griffith said he was stepping down.
Fraser said there wouldn’t be a u-turn on strategy but added that “undoubtedly choices need to be made in time”. Delivery of Gold Fields’ project in Chile, Salares Norte was a key focus for Gold Fields, particularly as first production has been delayed to the fourth quarter.
“I’ve got a few hypothesis on where we can focus,” said Fraser. “It’s nothing mind-blowing: how capital gets allocated and opportunities in existing assets, value unlock.”
Earlier on Monday, Suleman said he was “delighted to have a seasoned executive of Mike’s talent join Gold Fields”. Fraser was previously chief operating officer of South32 in which he managed the group’s South African coal and manganese assets as well as the aluminium and nickel operations.
Before that, he worked at BHP.
The post Gold Fields CEO-designate keen to bring junior mining opportunities appeared first on Miningmx.