TJAART Willemse, the new head of Rockwell Diamonds, has to deal with legacy issues left behind by former CEO, James Campbell. Rockwell chairman, Mark Bristow, had an acrimonious relationship with Campbell who left controversially after the gold boss ordered a review of the under-performing alluvial diamond miner from which a damning list of short comings and strategic failures was compiled. Now all the hullabaloo of the management change is over, it falls to Willemse to fend off multiple threats to the Rockwell business including a liquidation application over the parent company and its subsidiaries by a disaffected contractor, and the matter of paring Rockwell down to its priority assets. In this regard, Willemse has an agreement to sell the firm’s non-core Remhoogte and Saxendrift mines, recouping some R48m in much needed funds. A further $8m has also been secured from third party investors including Bristow himself – a step that sees the Randgold boss reach for his pocket for a third time in order to recapitalise Rockwell. For 2017, Rockwell’s fortunes boil down to the Wouterspan mine. Willemse, who knows kimberlite deposits, will have his work cut out getting to grips with the notoriously difficult nature of alluvial diamond deposits in ancient riverbeds of South Africa’s Northern Cape.
LIFE OF TJAART
Tjaart has worked in mining for 25 years most of which was at De Beers where he was head of mining from 2011 to 2014. He began at Foskor managing its mineral services. His career has also taken him to Namibia where he was assistant general manager (strategic projects) for De Beers’ joint venture in Namdeb.
“It is clear that the business finds itself in a state of despair.”
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