Wesizwe CEO decides not to renew contract
04 August 2012
The Board of Directors of Wesizwe Platinum Limited (`Wesizwe Platinum` or `the Company`) has notified its shareholders, with regret, that the Company`s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Solomon, has decided not to renew his contract for a further term.
The Board has also announced that with effect from 1 October 2010, the Company`s current Finance Director, Arthur Mashiatshidi, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer, while Wesizwe Platinum`s Chief Financial Officer, Jacques de Wet, will assume the role of Finance Director.
Mr Solomon has committed to continue to serve the Company in an advisory capacity for a further six months and will remain as a non-executive director.
Wesizwe Platinum Chairman, Dawn Mokhobo, commented, "Late last year, Mr Solomon stated his intention to serve as Chief Executive Officer until his current contract expires. He recently presented his decision to the Board, which has now accepted his request. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Mr Solomon for the significant contribution he has unstintingly made to the Company over the last six years."
Mr Solomon commented, "Having been with the Company from its early exploration to the onset of the fully funded capital development of one of the finest new projects in the platinum industry, it is an extremely difficult decision for me to make to step down at this point and not oversee the sinking of the shafts. As a mining engineer, this is obviously extremely close to my heart and represents the culmination of all the high-risk and difficult work that the Board, my team and I have done to date. However Wesizwe Platinum is undergoing a fundamental transition in its format and operational requirements, and it needs a fresh team with different attributes to take the Frischgewaagd-Ledig project forward."
Ms Mokhobo added, "Mr Solomon was part of the founding team of Wesizwe Platinum and has been instrumental in building the Company into what it is today - from the drilling of the initial exploration boreholes, to its pioneering move to engage a community as the single-largest shareholder, which followed the Company`s listing on the JSE Limited to raise funds for a platinum group metals (PGMs) exploration programme. This led to Wesizwe Platinum completing a feasibility study on a resource base of almost 16 million ounces, which is now being prepared for implementation.
The progress made by the Company is thanks to Mr Solomon`s extensive mining industry experience and we wish him the very best as he starts the next chapter of his career."
Over the last six months, Mr Mashiatshidi played a key role in rebuilding the executive team at Wesizwe Platinum and bolstering the finance and administrative function, including the implementation of sound governance practices and policies. He has also played a broader strategic role within the organisation and led the team that is currently in the final stages of negotiating a significant transaction with a Chinese Consortium to provide Wesizwe Platinum with a fully funded solution to develop its Frischgewaagd-Ledig project, as detailed in the cautionary announcements dated 24 May 2010 and 6 July 2010.
Ms Mokhobo said, "Both Messrs Mashiatshidi and de Wet have been critical to the Company`s development over recent months as we have advanced the Company in preparation for Wesizwe Platinum`s metamorphosis from a developer, into a fully fledged Mid-Tier mining company. They have played an important role in strengthening the Company`s compliance and governance policies and procedures, and these skills will be essential in taking the Company forward. The Board of Directors is unanimous in its support for Messrs Mashiatshidi and de Wet, and we are looking forward to their valuable contributions as the team delivers on its business strategy."
Mr Solomon will continue his association with the Company by providing a supporting role to the Board and executive team. Mr Solomon concluded, "It has been an interesting and challenging assignment and after six years at the helm, it`s good timing for a change of guard. I would like to thank the Board, staff, our advisors and particularly the shareholders for the support I have enjoyed from them all in overcoming the significant difficulties that the Company has endured and successfully navigated in its growth and development."
Investors are advised that the cautionary announcements dated 24 May 2010 and 6 July 2010 remain in force. Therefore, investors are advised to exercise caution in dealing with securities of the Company.
Sponsor: Investec Bank Limited
MBA, BSc (Accounting and Finance)
Arthur Mashiatshidi is the founder and former Chief Executive of Decorum Capital Partners, a company that developed and successfully managed the New Africa Mining Fund. He holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, (majoring in Accounting and Finance) from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Arthur holds a number of other business qualifications and has pursued the CFA Registered (Chartered Financial Analyst) qualification with the Association for Investment Management and Research up to level 2. Arthur has an extensive mining background and was Vice-president at Gold Fields Limited from where he developed the New Africa Mining Fund. He is a non-executive director at Total South Africa, Howden Africa Limited.
Jacques de Wet BCom Hons (Accounting), CA(SA), MCom
Currently Chief Financial Officer of Wesizwe Platinum, Jacques is a chartered accountant with more than 16 years experience in the general finance, corporate finance and project finance areas in the mining industry. He started his mining career at Gencor (later Billiton and BHPBilliton) in the mid 1990s as the manager responsible for internal audit and risk management, gaining extensive experience in the operational functioning of various mining and smelting activities, as well as marketing, trading and treasury activities.
As Corporate Finance Manager at BHP Billiton, and later Financial Manager: Projects at Xstrata, he was specifically responsible for the development of projects from concept phase to bankable feasibility study and the funding of large international projects such as the Goedgevonden Coal Mine, the Mozal Aluminium Smelter and the Escondida Copper expansion project. He was also involved in the evaluation and implementation of M&A opportunities in a variety of mining projects.
Jacques has experience in a range of commodity sectors including aluminium, coal, chrome, manganese, gold, uranium and platinum. He has served on a number of boards including Shaft Sinkers, Hernic Ferrochrome, Total Coal SA, Marula Platinum Mine and Eureka Gold Mine Zimbabwe.