Impala’s Goodlace to step down

Impala Platinum, the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, said chief executive officer (CEO) Terence Goodlace will resign at the start of December.

Goodlace, 57, is stepping down from Johannesburg-based Impala almost four years after succeeding David Brown as CEO. Impala is reviewing its succession plans and starting a search to fill the vacancy, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The world’s largest platinum producers are confronting a slump in prices that prompted them to cut thousands of jobs and sell shares to investors to strengthen their balance sheets. Impala is struggling to reach output targets amid a spate of mining deaths and safety failures as it seeks to recover from the effects of a five-month strike that crippled South African producers two years ago. It raised about R4 billion (USD 254 million) through a share sale in October.

“The timing of this move comes as a surprise to us, with the company making progress to stabilise operations after strikes in 2014 and the equity issue from last year to stabilise the balance sheet,” Richard Hatch, a London-based mining analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in an emailed note. “Focus is currently on improving safety and controlling costs at Impala Rustenburg.”

Two workers remain missing after the company closed the No. 1 Shaft at its mine in Rustenburg, north-west of Johannesburg, Impala said earlier on Wednesday. In February, Impala revised production targets for the fiscal year ending June 2016 after nine workers died at mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe in six different accidents, including a fire at a shaft in Rustenburg that left a section of the mine unusable until July 2017.

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