London - The CEO of Aquarius Platinum [JSE:AQP], the world’s
fourth-largest platinum miner, has resigned with immediate effect, the company
said on Monday, giving no reason for his departure after more than a decade at
The news sent London-listed shares in Aquarius, the third
major platinum miner to lose its chief executive this year, down 6.3% to 44.5
pence at 07:50 GMT, underperforming a 1.4% drop in the broader mining sector.
Aquarius has been hit along with the rest of the South
Africa-focused platinum sector by labour unrest and soaring costs. It was
forced to temporarily suspend operations at its Kroondal mine last month.
“Stuart Murray has pretty much been the face of Aquarius
Platinum,” Nomura analysts said in a morning note.
“After an extremely difficult last three years for the
company there will be plenty of speculation surrounding whether or not there is
more bad news to come.”
A replacement for Murray - who was also chairperson of the
miner’s principal, South African subsidiary - will be considered “in due
course”, it said in a statement, adding that he will continue at Aquarius until
March 31 to facilitate an “orderly handover”.
In the interim Jean Nel has been appointed Chief Operating
Officer of AQP and Zwelakhe Mankazana has been appointed interim non-executive
chairperson of Aquarius' principal subsidiary‚ AQPSA.
Since August nearly 50 people have been killed in labour
conflict in the crucial South African mining sector after strikes for higher
wages started in the platinum industry, causing the worst social unrest in the
country since the end of apartheid in 1994.
The miner, which in August reported a full-year loss for the
12 months ended June 30, also said that Jean Nel, formerly commercial director,
would become its chief operating officer.
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