TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Banro Corp, which is building a gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has appointed chairperson Simon Village as interim CEO to replace Mike Prinsloo, whose three-year contract ends in mid-September.
The company, which plans to produce its first gold late next year, also announced it has appointed Gary Chapman as project and mine manager to oversee its Twangiza project, and created a new executive committee, chaired by Village.
Prinsloo's three-year mandate to “oversee the transition of the company from explorer to a developer” has now been completed and he will step down as president, CEO and as a director on September 16.
Before his appointment as CEO in September 2007, Prinsloo was CEO of the Gold Fields Business Leadership Academy and had also headed the group's South African operations.
Village declined to comment on Monday whether there had been any discussions regarding Prinsloo's contract being extended.
He said the company is not under any pressure to appoint a new chief executive.
“Given the fact that we have a technically strong board, and that the project team is now fully in situ and functioning very well, we are in no rush to appoint a CEO but will do so when we have the right candidate,” Village said.
Chapman, who joined Banro in July, was previously a production manager for Gold Fields, and oversaw the production side of carbon-in-leach plant expansion at the group's Tarkwa mine, in Ghana.
Other members of Banro's executive committee include exploration vice-president Daniel Bansah, consulting mechanical and electrical engineer Thinus Vorster, government relations vice-president Desiré Sangara, nontechnical services vice-president Koos Nel and project and corporate finance vice-president Brian Scallan.
Banro still expects to start production at Twangiza in the fourth quarter of 2011, the firm said on Monday.
The company decided last year to begin with a smaller 'phase-one' project, using a refurbished second hand plant, and then look at expanding the operation down the road.
The civil works have now all been completed and the plant components, which were shipped from Australia to Kenya, are now arriving by road at the project site.
Banro said that artisanal miners are no longer operating at the main pit and river alluvial areas at the site, with many of the former artisanal miners now employed by the company or enrolled into alternative skills development programs funded by the firm and administered jointly by the Banro Foundation and a number of local nongovernmental organisations.
Annual production from the phase-one plant at Twangiza was expected to be between 80 000 oz/y and 110 000 oz/y, at a total operating cost of less than $400/oz, Banro said in August last year.
The company, which also has three less advanced gold projects in the DRC, raised C$137,56-million in a share offering earlier this year.
Shares in Banro slid 2,3% on Monday, to C$1,70 apiece by 12:03 in Toronto.