Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
CALEDONIA Mining Corporation chief executive officer, Mr Steve Curtis, is set to step down from his role at the end of June 2022 and would be succeeded by the firm’s chief financial officer, Mr Mark Learmonth.
The mining group is the parent company of the Gwanda-based gold operation, Blanket Mine.
In a statement, Caledonia said Mr Curtis has notified the board of his intention to retire.
“The company announces that Mr Steve Curtis, aged 65, has notified the board of directors of his intention to retire from his role as chief executive officer with effect from June 30, 2022,” said the company.
“He will be succeeded as chief executive officer by Mark Learmonth, Caledonia’s chief financial officer.
“Mr Curtis will continue to serve as a director of Caledonia, transitioning from an executive to a non-executive role by the end of 2022.”
He will also act as a consultant to the company until the end of 2023. Commenting on the retirement announcement, Caledonia chairman Mr Leigh Wilson said Mr Curtis has delivered outstanding contribution to the company.
“Under his calm and steady leadership since November 2014, Caledonia’s production has almost doubled and its market capitalisation has increased over four-fold,” he said.
He said Mr Curtis has also laid the foundation for the next phase of Caledonia’s growth stressing that the Central Shaft project at Blanket Mine has been the defining feature of the outgoing chief executive officer’s tenure.
The Central Shaft project commenced in February 2015 and was successfully commissioned in March this year.
“The new shaft is expected to result in production increasing to 80 000 ounces of gold per annum from 2022 onwards — almost double the level of production we achieved in 2014,” said the company.
“Under Steve’s stewardship, the strength and depth of Caledonia’s management team has increased so that it has the capacity to take on new projects.
“In recent years, under Steve’s leadership, Caledonia has also improved its relevance to international capital markets, which has resulted in a substantial increase in Caledonia’s share price since 2014 and a significant increase in the liquidity of its shares which now trade on AIM, New York Stock Exchange and the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange in Zimbabwe.
Mr Learmonth joined Caledonia in 2008, having spent over 17 years in corporate finance and investment banking, mostly in Africa.
He has been Caledonia’s chief financial officer since November 2014 and is experienced in the complexities and opportunities that arise from operating in Zimbabwe.
“I am delighted that Steve will remain with Caledonia in a non-executive role and look forward to his invaluable guidance in the future, which I am certain will continue to be a major asset to the Company,” said Mr Wilson. — @KazungaOliver