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De Beers to Appoint Chairman in July

Venetia, Jwaneng Production Back to Normal

Jun 26, 2013 12:44 PM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... De Beers will appoint a new chairman at its next board meeting in mid-July, according to its CEO, Philippe Mellier, who spoke to the press on Wednesday.

“Our next board meeting is three weeks from now and it will be the responsibility of our board to elect a new chairman at that meeting,” Mellier said at a conference in Tel Aviv.

The company has not appointed a replacement chairman since Cynthia Carroll stepped down as CEO of parent company Anglo American in April. Carroll held the position of De Beers chairman since September 2012, after the conglomerate closed its acquisition of the Oppenheimer’s 40 percent stake in De Beers. Anglo American currently owns 85 percent of De Beers with the Botswana government holding the remaining 15 percent.

The De Beers board meeting will precede the publication of Anglo American’s first half results scheduled for July 26, which will include De Beers financials for the period.

Mellier reported that De Beers has cleared its operational challenges at  two flagship mines – Jwaneng in Botswana and the Venetia mine in South Africa. A slope failure at Jwaneng in June 2012 caused disruptions in production as the company was set to clear approximately 1 million tonnes of ore from the main ore body, but that has now been cleared. He added that production resumed last week at the Venetia mine’s main K1 pipe after severe flooding at the mine in February this year. 

The Venetia mine consists of three pipes and while De Beers continued mining of the K2 and K3 pipes after the flood, the biggest of these remained under water.

“Just a week ago we started mining again at the bottom of the pit, at K1, so normal production is going to resume at Venetia and the shortfalls that we had there are going to vanish pretty quickly,” Mellier said. “So two incidents that were creating shortfalls in our assortments that the situation is now gradually coming back to normal and will give better predictability to our sightholders.”

Mellier maintained De Beers forecast to achieve production in line with 2012 levels of about 27 million to 28 million carats in 2013.
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Tags: Anglo American, Avi Krawitz, De Beers, diamonds, Jwaneng, Mellier, Rapaport, venetia
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