WE have frequently cited Glencore executive, Clinton Ephron, and Ivanhoe chairman, Robert Friedland, for their low media profile, but both could take lessons from Jianke Gao who is almost an invisible man in terms of media exposure: in South Africa, at any rate. As far as we can tell, he did not give an interview to the South African media during 2016 which was a year in which, as we stated in last year’s Rainmakers & Potstirrers, Gao would have to make some tough decisions on the developing mine’s future as it got closer to commissioning and production. We were partly correct. Wesizwe did make some changes, but management at a presentation in Johannesburg in October - which Gao did not attend - maintained the changes would not affect the critical path for mine development. Project executive Jacob Mothomogolo said Wesizwe would still start production, and then ramp-up to full output, as per the optimisation study released in 2014. Wesizwe has been developed so far drawing down a $300m of a $650m loan provided by major shareholder China-Africa Jinchuan Investments, but there are a number of “big ticket” capital items still to come. According to Gao in his year-end message on the Wesizwe website “... the project is going forward as planned and we are moving towards commissioning the main shaft in June 2017”.
LIFE OF JIANKE
He has extensive mining experience of more than 27 years in his native China where he graduated from the Central-South Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in mining. After that he joined the Jinchuan group. He was appointed GM assistant at Jinchuan in 2009 and, before that, served as the mine manager for Mining Zone 2 of the Jinchuan Group for six years.
“I would like to assure all staff that nothing major has changed for the project.”
- Web Address: www.wesizwe.com