Petra Diamonds has appointed mining veteran Richard Duffy as its new CEO in the hope he will return the company to positive cash flow and lower debt.
“[Duffy] brings with him an impressive depth of global mining experience, which we believe will be critical to drive Petra’s transition from a phase of intensive capital expenditure and expansion to a focus on steady-state, cash-generative operations,” Petra chairman Adonis Pouroulis said Monday. Duffy replaces Johan Dippenaar, who stepped down in September amid a $203.1 million loss.
In the first fiscal half ending December 31, Petra reduced its net loss by 71% to $57.9 million. Of that, $39.7 million was due to charges related to offloading Helam mine and its stake in the Kimberley Ekapa project. The company was also hit by a year-on-year drop in the average price of rough stones from its flagship Cullinan mine from $140 per carat to $96 per carat. During the second half of the financial year, the miner plans to shift production to a higher-value part of the mine’s C-Cut block cave.
The company also has significant debt, which has increased over the past fiscal year, and currently stands at $559.3 million.
Duffy, who has both mining and finance experience, has worked in a variety of positions in the mining industry for 27 years. Most recently, he was the head of African operations and chief financial officer at AngloGold Ashanti Limited. In 2015, he cofounded Africa Energy Management Platform, which develops, finances, builds and operates renewable and hybrid energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
Duffy will work with Johan Dippenaar over the coming weeks to ensure an efficient handover, and will officially become CEO on April 1.
Petra’s share price rose 9% in early trading Monday following the announcement.
Image: Richard Duffy. (Petra Diamonds)