Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Peter Steenkamp

Peter Steenkamp

Harmony Gold

PETER Steenkamp has had an almost charmed ride at Harmony since taking over as CEO in January 2016 when the gold price started rising. That amounts to an elixir of life for a marginal producer like Harmony. His predecessor, Graham Briggs, said the Harmony board would have a tough time finding somebody “crazy enough” to take on the job. Call it luck – or carefully planned strategy, if you will – Steenkamp followed up on that good start last year when he struck the deal to buy Moab Khotsong and the Great Noligwa pillar extraction project from AngloGold Ashanti for $300m. That adds some 280,000 ounces of gold to Harmony’s overall production of one million oz/year, and comes close to meeting Steenkamp’s previously stated ambitions of adding 500,000 oz of output annually by 2019. That stamps Steenkamp as a “man with a plan” who is delivering on it – something investors appreciate. It’s not all ‘sunshine and roses’ for Steenkamp as analysts question the wisdom of Harmony’s ambitious plans for the Hidden Valley and Wafi-Golpu operations in Papua New Guinea, as well as how Harmony will fund them. While Steenkamp has done well overall, what’s really needed to let the good times roll again at Harmony is a swift jump in the gold price.

LIFE OF PETER

A mining engineer, Steenkamp has some 30 years’ experience in the gold sector, although he diversified into coal and platinum with ARM Coal and ARM Platinum from 2009 to 2013, after which he did a stint with Sasol Mining. Mistakes? Only one so far: becoming CEO of Pamodzi Gold, where he did not exactly find glory – although far worse befell that ill-fated company thanks to its subsequent owners and management.