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Pretorius has literally steered DRDGold out of the ground by selling a 60% stake in the company's last remaining underground mine, the partially crippled Blyvooruitzicht, to newcomer Aurora Empowerment Systems. DRDGold's transformation from a mid-tier to a marginal gold company and then an emerging dump retreatment group has it’s distinct upside. The twin worries of labour unions and power tariffs, which have hounded Pretorius and his team more than most, tend to fade into the background when your mines consist of pipelines and water cannons. Although seismic damage to Blyvoor is being repaired, it remains to be seen how much more digging at current margins Pretorius can stomach. He also probably won't let his cash strapped Australian partner in the Ergo surface project, Mintails, off the hook after DRDGold has been progressively cannibalising its share. DRDGold has lost its famed gold price leverage but there are whispers the group is planning to recapture it through corporate activity.
LIFE OF NIEL
He joined DRDGold as legal adviser in 2003 and became GM of corporate services in 2005 and CEO of DRDGold’s SA operations in 2006. Pretorius is also a director of Rand Refinery.