NewCEO of world's biggest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum, Neville Nicolau,wants to take the world's largest platinum player to its full potential and havefun while he attains this personal goal with the company.
Speakingshortly after the announcement of his appointment, Nicolau, a former chiefoperating officer of AngloGold Ashanti, said his focus will beon safety, platinum production and costs in order to get the company to performto its potential. He assumes his position on 1 June.
WhileAnglo Platinum has done a large amount of work in terms of safety, there wasstill much work to be done in this field and the company has experienced anumber of production problems that need to be addressed, he said.
Safetyis especially important in South Africa, safety is your morallicense to operate. In order to be successful your initiatives need the supportof organised labour and government. The focus has to be on both attitudestowards safety and engineering out risk to make mines intrinsically safe.
Nicolausaid he would take the first few months at Anglo Plats to establish exactlywhat the company's issues were, but cost management was typically difficult atmines, especially when metal prices were high as people tended to take their eyesoff cost under these circumstances.
Myintention is to get the company to perform at its best. We will look foropportunities for organic growth and capital expenditure, he said.
Nicolau,who takes over from joint acting CEOs Norman Mbazima and Duncan Wanblad said hewould spend the first five months meeting and greeting the main people in thecompany, visiting mining operations to learn how production was done andconsulting the head office to understand how it contributes to the safe andprofitable production of platinum.
Hewould then come up with a strategic plan to take the company forward and makeuse of all opportunities, including international growth, to take the companyforward and make it better.
Askedabout platinum growth outside of South Africa, Nicolau said theBushveld igneous complex hosted a large amount of the world's quality platinumresources, but there were indeed opportunitiesoutside the country as well.
Therewere many similarities between gold and platinum mining and Anglo Platinum andand Anglo Gold that will stand Nicolau in good stead in his new position,including the operation of deep and large labour intensive mines, but he willendeavour to gain more knowledge of the platinum market and metals processingprocess.
Nicolau,a 48-year-old South African citizen, does hold a positive view of the platinummarket over the long-term, saying it will remain strong on the back of clearsupply and demand fundamentals, provided that no alternative for platinum isfound in industrial applications.
Insimple terms, we will make the company better than it was before every year.Anglo Platinum is a great company and it is an opportunity for me, personally,to make a contribution to South Africa.
Hesaid he left AngloGold Ashanti, where he held a numberof senior executive positions over the last eight years, as he didn't concurwith his position in the organisation after CEO Mark Cutifani restructured it.However, he left the company on good terms.