Tuesday, June 27, 2017
J Paul Rollinson

J Paul Rollinson

Kinross Gold

IT was on J Paul Rollinson’s shift that Canada’s Kinross Gold took two massive write-downs on its Mauritania mine, Tasiast, totalling $5.5bn. The mine had been the idea of Rollinson’s predecessor Tye Burt who bought it through the $7bn takeover of Redback Mining in 2010. Having taken that bitter medicine, there’s a chance that Tasiast might now provide a return on the initial investment. This is after Rollinson gave the green light to a $728m phase one expansion that will take the mine’s annual production to 409,000 ounces between 2018, when it is commissioned, and 2027. Importantly, production costs will halve. And more may come. Rollinson is considering a $620m second phase expansion that will take production to 777,000 oz and cut costs again. A decision is expected by the end of this year. Tasiast has been a hard nut for Kinross to crack largely owing to its remote desert location. Politically, the asset is also a difficult manage. Rollinson saw production shut down twice in 2016: the first, an 18-day stoppage in May, was a wage-related strike that was settled with a new three year deal in November. And in July, the Mauritania government objected to the number of expatriate workers which interrupted work. Kinross has agreed to lift the number of local employees in line with Mauritania’s new laws.

LIFE OF J PAUL

Rollinson is a qualified mining engineer and geologist who ran Deutsche Bank’s America’s mining division. He took over Kinross in 2012 where he had been head of corporate development reversing his own decision to proceed with the Tasiast expansion. Rollinson was also deputy head of investment banking at Scotia Capital. He comes from mining stock: his father was a metallurgist and consequently lived in Canada’s wide open spaces. Fishing, skiing and boating are among his interests.

“It was my love of the outdoors that got me into this in the first place.”