TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canadian project developer Asanko Gold has appointed William (Bill) Keith Smart as nonexecutive director, strengthening the operational and technical expertise of the board as the company prepares to transition to a gold producer.
Holding a BCom (Hons) degree from Rhodes University, in South Africa, Smart had a distinguished career as a senior mining executive with a specific focus on operating assets in Africa.
His most recent executive role was with TSX-listed LionOre Mining International, where he was responsible for strategy and corporate development. LionOre was a multinational nickel producer that was acquired by Norilsk Nickel for C$6.8-billion in 2007. Smart had more recently served on a number of public company boards.
Before LionOre, Smart spent 26 years working for the Anglo American group, in Zimbabwe, holding positions including MD of Bindura Nickel and Zimbabwe Alloys, and as a director of Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe and First Merchant Bank.
Following his departure from Anglo American, he became chairperson and CEO of the privately owned Zimasco, which, at the time, was one of Africa's largest integrated ferrochrome mining and smelting businesses. He was responsible for a complete overhaul of the business, culminating in a successful sale to SinoSteel Corporation. Zimasco also owned the Mimosa platinum mine, in Zimbabwe and, as CEO, Smart oversaw the development and construction of this high-efficiency, low-cost platinum mine.
With construction of the Asanko mine, in Ghana, three-quarters complete, the Canadian company on Monday said it expected hot commissioning of the plant to start in December.
First gold production was scheduled for January – more than a month ahead of schedule and within the $295-million capital budget.