South32 shuffles Australia lead team deck

14th March 2024 By: Creamer Media Reporter

As South32 prepares for the impending sale of the Illawarra metallurgical coal mine, the company has announced changes to its lead team in Australia.

Jason Economidis, currently South32 COO for Australia, will become CEO of GEAR M Illawarra Met Coal when the transaction is completed in the first half of the 2025 financial year.

GEAR M Illawarra, owned by investment group Golden Energy and Resources (GEAR) and coal products trader M Resources, is buying the New South Wales mine from South32 for $1.65-billion.

With the impending change, Economidis will be interim director of Illawarra metallurgical coal for South32 and will be accountable for the continued safe operation of the mine and its smooth transition to new ownership.

Vanessa Torres, currently chief technical officer, will succeed Economidis as COO Australia, with accountability for South32’s Australia manganese, Cannington and Worsley Alumina operations, alongside Noel Pillay who remains COO with accountability for operations in Africa and Colombia.

Erwin Schaufler, VP operations Worsley Alumina, has been appointed chief technical officer with accountability for technology, innovation, business optimisation, global business services, capital projects, planning, health, safety, environment and technical stewardship.

Schaufler will be succeeded at Worsley Alumina by Pine Pienaar, who will join South32 from Queensland Alumina – a joint venture between Rio Tinto and Rusal – on April 2.