THE ousting of Resgen’s former CEO, Paul Jury, at the November 2015 annual general meeting and his replacement with Altius Investment Holdings founder Rob Lowe promised to result in some action – at last. Jury had a gung-ho approach and the annual reports were graphical masterpieces, but, after several years of trying he was unable to secure the necessary funding for the firm’s proposed 6.5 million tonne a year Boikarabelo thermal coal mine and an Eskom offtake contract. Eventually, Resgen’s major shareholders, including Altius, the state-owned Public Investment Corporation, and Noble Group, lost patience. But while Lowe has made progress with a list of outstanding items he previously described as “daunting”, he has also found it difficult to overcome bank resistance to funding greenfields mines – especially coal mines – and Eskom’s inability to focus on much other than its internal problems. Lowe says without any collateral or parent guarantees, using only the project itself as security, it has been necessary to reassure potential lenders of the viability of the project by completing every single aspect. This involved many third parties, including government – “a massive exercise”. His contract has just been extended for at least another year, indicating the board believes he is doing a better job than his predecessor. Noble Group has agreed to take more coal from the mine than originally agreed, which may help to reassure funders.
LIFE OF ROB
The environmental lobby, which takes a one-dimensional view of miners, might be surprised to learn that Rob Lowe’s company, Altius Investment Holdings, also holds interests in a water purification company, NuWater, and the Cape Town Market, which distributes fruit and vegetables. Lowe’s experience is in legal and corporate affairs.
- Web Address: www.resgen.com.au