Sunday, August 20, 2017
Stuart Murray

Stuart Murray

Sylvania Platinum

MURRAY has kept a low profile since stepping down as CEO of Aquarius Platinum in 2012, and then subsequently joining Sylvania Platinum as non-executive chairman in 2013. That raised a few eyebrows at the time given that – while running Aquarius – he had a major bust-up with Sylvania CEO, Terry McConnachie. Sylvania specialises in recovering platinum group metals from chrome mine tailings material: a business attracting increasing attention from competitors like Jubilee Platinum. Being a non-executive chairman probably forces a degree of conservatism on the previously outspoken Murray. No doubt that also makes good business sense for Sylvania which Murray describes as “too small and largely irrelevant in terms of the platinum markets to be concerned about the macro-economic events of Brexit and the Euro.” But the wise-cracking Murray of old is sorely missed by some of us even if he has lost his “King Rat” crown and is now merely chairing one of the “rats and mice” of the platinum sector. This is the man who – when told that former Implats CEO Keith Rumble considered Aquarius too expensive to take over because of the high rating accorded by its London listing – quipped: “Isn’t life a bitch!” while grinning from ear to ear.

LIFE OF STUART

He is a chemical engineer by training with more than 25 years experience in the platinum business. He gained much of his operational and technical experience with Impala Platinum (Implats) where he became consulting engineer before being appointed to new business. Murray left Implats to become CEO of Aquarius in 2001 – apparently because he was overlooked for the position of CEO at Implats. He then led a revolution in the junior platinum mining space as Aquarius broke new corporate ground through “pool and share” arrangements with majors.

“We see insufficient tangible improvement in capital markets to warrant exploration for PGMs.”