Friday, June 22, 2018
Cobus Loots

Cobus Loots

Pan African Resources

LET’S start off by giving Loots credit for what he got right: the opportunistic deal he executed in 2016 to buy the Uitkomst Colliery for R148m from Shanduka Resources. He sold it a year later to Coal of Africa for R275m – banking a tidy profit. So, what’s not to like about doubling your money? Two things, according to some observers. They believe Loots should rather have kept his attention on Pan African’s core gold mining businesses at Barberton and Evander. Secondly, they question the alleged undue influence of BEE partner, Shanduka, for whom Loots used to work, over the company. The past year has been particularly harsh, with Pan African forced to cut its dividend as production fell while costs soared because of operational problems at both the Evander and Barberton mines. There was a shaft failure at Evander, which was closed for 55 days, while Barberton was affected by logistical and flexibility constraints. Barberton was also hit by community protests and unrest at the Fairview section. In October, Pan African’s latest project – the R1.7bn Elikhulu tailings project at Evander – was also hit by unrest from a criminal grouping. Loots reckons production should recover this year, during which Pan African will continue to build Elikhulu while assessing the viability of developing the high-grade 2010 pay channel at Evander.

LIFE OF COBUS

He’s a chartered accountant who qualified through Deloitte and was MD of Shanduka Resources – ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa’s former mining investment company – until 2009 when he was appointed financial director of Pan African. Shanduka was then Pan African’s BEE partner. He was appointed CEO in March 2015, replacing Ron Holding who retired.