Caracal board appoints nonexec director with ESG experience

10th February 2022 By: Darren Parker

London-listed gold producer Caracal Gold has announced the appointment of Rachel Johnston as nonexecutive director, effective March 1.

"We . . . welcome [Johnston] to our board of directors. Her . . . experience across Africa . . . and her skills in environmental, social and governance (ESG) will be well-utilised,” Caracal CEO Robbie McCrae said on February 10.

He added that the appointment came at a time when the company aimed to push ahead with development plans at its Kilimapesa gold operations, in Kenya, in a bid to lift gold production to 24 000 oz/y and double Caracal’s Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resources to more than 1.5-million ounces.

Johnston’s experience spans ten years in various roles across the African mining sector.

She is currently an independent consultant on sustainability in Africa, advising mining companies on stakeholder engagement, sustainability reporting, supervising environmental- and social-impact assessments (ESIAs), as well as assisting with the implementation of ESG programmes and initiatives. 

Previously, Johnston was tier 1 gold producer Endeavour Mining's group corporate social responsibility (CSR) manager, where she was responsible for managing the company’s West African assets.

She was also a CSR consultant to TSX-listed True Gold Mining. In addition, Johnston was also CEO of auger drilling business Sahara Geoservices, based in Burkina Faso.

Through these roles, she garnered practical experience of the social, administrative, management, governmental and labour relations issues that arise in the development and day-to-day operation of mining projects in Africa.

"[Johnston]'s experience in working with major mining companies in Africa on their ESG initiatives will be of significant value to us, at both our existing operations in Kenya, our new developments in Tanzania and more broadly in East Africa,” McCrae said.

Before joining the mining sector, Johnston managed community humanitarian and development projects in Central and West Africa. She holds a Master's degree in International Development Management and a National Higher Diploma in Mining Engineering.

“Her strong focus on social, environmental, health and safety management and community engagement are perfectly aligned to the corporate ethos and operating practices of the Company,” a Caracal statement said, adding that Johnston would add “significant value” to the board of directors and strengthen its broad ESG and ESIA activities in East Africa.

Meanwhile, as part of the restructure of the Caracal board, nonexecutive directors Charles Tatnall and James Longley resigned on February 5.

“As part of the restructuring of the board, I wish to take this opportunity to thank both [Tatnall] and [Longley] for their major contribution through the listing process last year, and I wish them well in their future endeavours,” McCrae concluded.