WESIZWE Platinum flies pretty low under the radar considering it is developing a very significant platinum mine in the shape of its Bakubung project. This low profile probably explains why the departure of former CEO, Jianke Gao and his replacement with Zhimin Li last year encouraged almost no media coverage – and is a far cry from the fanfare the founding CEO, Mike Solomon, first gave Wesziwe in the noughties. In any event, Li has been in the ‘corner office’ for nearly a year, with the aim of finally bringing Bakubung into production. Initially scoped at a mining rate of 250,000 tonnes per month of ore, reaching steady state in 2021, Li is tasked with reducing the planned production and mining volumes in order to minimise the loss in value of the deposit during a low platinum-pricing environment. He will also be asked to follow a trajectory of capital conservatism even though the long-standing support of anchor shareholders in Jinchuan Group and the China Africa Development Fund has provided $650m in funds, of which $358m has been drawn-down. In a show of tidy housekeeping, Wesizwe agreed last year to sell its stake in the Maseve joint venture with Platinum Group Metals to Royal Bafokeng Platinum, ending a long and unhappy relationship with the Canadian company.
LIFE OF ZHIMIN
Li has a Bachelor degree in Mining Engineering from Kunming University of Science and Technology in China. He has three decades of experience and worked in China, Africa and other destinations for the Jinchuan Group.
- Web Address: www.wesizwe.co.za