Metorex, which relies heavily on its copper-cobalt interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia, has announced the appointment of Terence Goodlace as its CEO, following a radical survival plan announced during the second week of December. Goodlace was previously chief operating officer at Gold Fields, until he announced his departure, for personal reasons, in September 2008.Goodlace has thus moved from a company with a market value of USD 7.04bn to one with a value of USD 68m, and from gold, relatively the world's best performing commodity, to two metals that have been trashed.Metorex, forced into a hugely dilutive ZAR 744m rights issue, plus a bridging finance loan of ZAR 178m, at punitive rates, previously announced the effective firing of its chairman, Simon Malone, who was replaced by Rob Still. Erstwhile Metorex CEO, Charles Needham, continued in his job until Goodlace was appointed, and has now been demoted to managing director.In other moves at the director and management level, Keith Spencer and Edward Legg, currently executive directors, resigned, but continue in assisting Metorex as technical advisers, and as alternate directors to new independent appointments to the board. Maritz Smith, previously an alternate director, was appointed as group financial director with immediate effect.George Forrest, Snr., a legend in Katanga Province, and beyond, resigned as a non-executive director of Metorex with immediate effect, due to time constraints. Forrest's nominated replacement, Pierre Chevalier, was accepted by Metorex. Les Paton, a technical director of Impala Platinum, joined Metorex as an independent non-executive director.While Metorex remains determined to complete the build of its behind-schedule Ruashi operation in Katanga Province, DRC, mining there generally continues to lurch from one crisis to another, under the weight of collapsed copper and cobalt prices. In December, regional mining minister Barthelemy Mumba Gama indicated that up to 300,000 people may lose their jobs in Katanga Province; 200,000 such jobs, mainly in artisanal mining, had already gone.The formal mining sector in Katanga Province remains in a stricken state. Katanga Mining is struggling to raise finance to fund its scaled-down ambitions, while Camec remains on halt at its key mines, including Mukondo. Anvil continues to seek funding, and while Africo remains relatively well cashed up, it appears to have put its flagship Kalukundi development on ice for now.First Quantum, the pioneer of modern brownfields copper mining in Zambia and the DRC, remains, however, in a strong position, and Freeport-McMoRan, the world's biggest listed copper producer, continues to develop the huge Tenke Fungurume deposits in the DRC, albeit on a less ambitious basis than previously.
El Nino Ventures
* 12-month ** DRC only
Source: market data; table compiled by Barry Sergeant