Friday, March 24, 2017
Paul Dunne

Paul Dunne

Northam Platinum

PAUL Dunne’s eye for a deal is the necessary precursor to Northam Platinum’s ‘aspirational’ production target of one million ounces a year of platinum group metals (PGMs). Northam under Dunne is a far cry from the single, lease-bound miner we knew under former CEO, the tough nut Glyn Lewis. It’s also unusual among its peers for its relative balance sheet comfort, thanks to a R4bn empowerment deal. In pursuit of his production targets, Dunne is developing the 100 million oz Booysendal deposit. The operation will be developed as a mechanised mine from the north as well as the south in which the orebody will be accessed via the old Everest South assets that Northam bought from Aquarius Platinum. Dunne has also secured 17 million oz of additional PGM resources for its founding mine, Zondereinde, in a swap with Anglo American Platinum. In order to cope with the additional ore from Booysendal, Northam is building a furnace which could also toll-treat ore from other miners. The smelter build programme is partly financed by German refiner, Heraeus, with whom Dunne cemented a long-standing relationship. Apart from the technical challenges of restarting Everest South - or Booysendal South as Northam is calling it – the most difficult problem facing Dunne is community foment. Dunne’s relationship with unions is uneven following previous clashes whilst he was operations manager at Impala Platinum (Implats).

LIFE OF PAUL

Paul Dunne, born in Lancashire, England, joined Implats in 1987, with a BSc (Hons), and an MBA. He rose through the ranks to head the mining, concentrating and smelting assets for the world’s second-largest platinum producer. He was appointed Northam CEO in March 2014, leaving Implats after being passed over for the job as CEO he coveted in favour of Gold Fields veteran Terence Goodlace.

“Time is the most precious thing the industry needs to consider here.”