JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Botswana Stock Exchange-listed Minergy on Thursday announced that its CFO Morne du Plessis had been appointed CEO-designate and would take over the reins of the coal mining and coal trading company on August 1.
This follows last month’s announcement that current Minergy CEO Andre Bojé, 63, would be retiring.
“It’s the right time to step back,” said Bojé.
He will do so after having successfully steered the company through its mine development phase and listing it on the Botswana Stock Exchange.
Two years ago, Minergy opted for a main board Botswana listing, underpinned by its 100%-ownership of the 390-million-tonne Masama coal asset in the Mmambula coalfield.
Now, Bojé will remain part of the team tasked with ensuring Minergy's listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange as well as retain oversight of coal marketing for a 12-month stretch.
In a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online, Minergy said that the appointment of Du Plessis, a chartered accountant with an MBA from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, had followed an extensive internal and external candidate selection process.
As a Minergy board member for more than two years, Du Plessis formed part of the operational team that developed Masama and he has held management positions for several coal mining and trading groups, including contract mining and beneficiation service provider Genet SA, junior coal mining company Umcebo and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Wescoal.
Minergy nonexecutive chairperson Mokwena Morulane attributed the realisation of the Masama coal project and the company’s local listing to Bojé’s deep understanding of the coal industry and his tenacity in the face of a multitude regulatory and physical challenges.
In turn, Du Plessis’ extensive public company director experience and in-depth knowledge of Minergy’s flagship Masama project as significant factors in the board’s decision to appoint him as CEO.
Other recent Minergy appointments have included those of financial manager Julius Ayo, mining GM Siyani Makwakwago, and safety, health and environment manager Herbert Kebafetotse, which an enthused Du Plessis described as being indicative of Minergy’s culture of ensuring training across the organisation.
“I feel that I’m part of something big which will create opportunities and transform the lives of many Batswana,” said Ayo, while Makwakwago lauded the company’s diverse approach to resolving any potential issues and Kebafetotse appreciated being part of the construction, commissioning and operation of “a potential giant in Botswana’s coal mining history”.
Minergy Coal MD Martin Bartle is responsible for the overall profitability, mining, processing and safety.
Minergy has local offices in the villages of Medie and Lentsweletau primarily to ensure that detailed skills audits are conducted and also provide a contact point for various communities to interact with the project. At the moment, of the 246 employees on the mine site, 236, or 96%, are Batswana.
Training at the mine site is taking place, mainly through subcontractors, and primarily involving machine operation. “As we transition from the project phase to full production, a vast amount of training will continue to take place and, in this phase, we will really be building coal expertise within Botswana,” Du Plessis assured.
Masama has a 100-year life-of-mine and Minergy aims to extract 2.4-million tonnes of coal a year at the shallow mine that has coal seams with thicknesses of up to 6 m.