The winner of the CEO of the Year is Peter Cook, the former Metals X boss and now managing director of Westgold Resources.
Cook led a drawn-out, but ultimately successful battle to “rescue” the Nifty copper mine via a hostile takeover bid for its owner, Aditya Birla Minerals.
That deal paved the way for Metals X to demerge its gold assets late last year. Cook now heads up Westgold Resources, a top 10 ASX producer with strong growth aspirations.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, the Nifty deal is already paying off for Metals X with the turnaround of Nifty well underway.
The runner-up in the CEO of the Year category was Fortescue Metals Group boss Nev Power for leading a culture of continuous improvement even in tough market conditions.
Our New/Emerging Leader of the Year is OZ Minerals MD Andrew Cole, who has led the reboot of the copper miner in the just over two years since joining.
Cole mapped out a clear strategy for the company and has worked hard to shape a distinct company culture in which employees embrace and strive for change.
Resolute Mining CEO John Welborn was named as the runner-up, having celebrated the second anniversary of his transformational time at the gold miner on July 1.
The Deal and/or Merger of the Year category was a close one, but Gold Road Resource’s A$350 million sale of 50% of its Gruyere project to Gold Fields was deemed as the winner.
Gold Road could have built the project on its own, but decided that the project was big enough to share ownership. The deal eliminated the need for debt or a dilutive raising and allowed Gold Road to continue to explore through the construction period.
The very worthy runner-up was Evolution Mining’s $880 million acquisition of a 30% stake in Glencore’s Ernest Henry mine.
Evolution’s results yesterday speak for themselves – in the eight months it has owned the Ernest Henry stake, the mine contributed 60,259 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of negative $361 an ounce.
West African Resources has been voted as Explorer of the Year for continued exploration success at Sanbrado in Burkina Faso.
In fact, West African’s drilling has been so successful – including the discovery of the high-grade M1 South deposit containing 300,000 ounces at 7.2-8.6 grams per tonne – that it has delayed the completion of a feasibility study until next year.
The runner-up in the Explorer of the Year category was Kidman Resources, which confirmed the presence of the significant Earl Grey deposit and drilled it out to define one of the world’s largest hard rock lithium resources in only five and a half months, subsequently attracting the attention of New York-listed SQM in the process.