ROGER Baxter, the former CEO of South Africa’s Minerals Council, has been appointed non-executive chair of Southern Palladium.
The Johannesburg-listed exploration firm said on November 28 Baxter would pick up his duties from January 1. He replaces another heavy-hitter Terence Goodlace who stood down “reluctantly” in May owing to conflicts with other board positions he held.
Southern Palladium’s interim chair Mike Stirzaker will revert to his former role as a non-executive director when Baxter steps up.
Baxter, who was CEO of the council for eight years and was a founding chair of the World Platinum Investment Council, said Southern Palladium provided “a unique opportunity” to develop one of South Africa’s last remaining sizeable platinum group metals orebodies.
“The Bengwenyama project has several stand-out attributes and is now well advanced in terms of transitioning from exploration to development,” he said.
Bengwenyama is rich in palladium and rhodium and is located south of the Modikwa PGM mine which is jointly owned by African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo American Platinum. Southern Palladium has a 70% stake in the Bengwenyama project with the balance held by Bengwenyama-ya-Maswazi, the local community.
Southern Palladium announced in October that a geotechnical study showed less dilution at Bengwenyama, implying a higher-than-previously expected reserve grade. Mining below 50 metres would also result in less disruption to surface infrastructure, it said.
As a result, a combination of conventional and mechanised mining could also be supported by the deposit. “All parameters are in line with existing Bushveld UG2 operations,” said Johan Odendaal, MD of Southern Palladium.
The company also said in October that its mining right application had been confirmed by South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources. This would pave the way for environmental expert studies and consultations, it said.