Tom Palmer
Rainmakers & Potstirrers

Tom Palmer

CEO: Newmont Mining

Get our rainmakers & potstirrers app now
‘We’ll look at the portfolio ... and then think carefully about how we might rationalise our portfolio in the next 12 to 24 months’

THE downside of being the world’s largest gold producer is replacing reserves, or risk being seen in decline. That’s the double-edged sword Newmont CEO Tom Palmer faces daily. Hence the firm’s takeover of Australia’s Newcrest Mining in November. The transaction, the third-largest in Australian history, establishes Newmont as an 8.5 million ounce a year producer. As is normal given the size of the deal, it presages a bit of portfolio management.

Palmer says smaller mines will be sold to recoup $2bn in cash but the group hasn’t yet decided which mines it will sell. Might Ghana’s Akyem qualify? That could depend on the outcome of exploration to assess potential to extend its current six years of reserves via an extension of an underground decline. There are no such fears for Ghana’s Ahafo mining complex, where the monster Ahafo North expansion is expected to add 275,000 to 325,000 oz/year in production from 2025. Palmer describes Ahafo North – which could see total capex of $1.04bn excluding capitalised interest – as “the best unmined gold deposit in West Africa”, with “significant potential” to extend beyond its initial 13-year life of mine.

Previously, Palmer worried over access to land in Ghana, saying that cooperation with landowners was essential. This remains a present worry. According to reports in Ghana, one local NGO said Newmont must suspend exploration until farmer compensation was finalised. Newmont said in March 2023 it had set aside $14m for resettlement packages. One other noteworthy event: former Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen made the jump from Johannesburg to Denver, US, where she is now Newmont’s COO and, quite possibly, its next CEO.


Palmer is an engineer by profession, holding a Bachelor of Engineering degree and a Master of Engineering Science degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Before joining Newmont, he spent 20 years with Rio Tinto, where he became COO at the group’s Pilbara iron ore mines in Western Australia. Prior to that, Palmer held a number of positions with Rio Tinto. He served in various senior vice-president positions after joining Newmont and before being appointed COO in May 2016.

More Rainmakers & Potstirrers