Follow the leaders: This week’s executive appointments


Keep up with the latest executive movements across the mining sector, including at Roy Hill, Iluka Resources, Turquoise Hill Resources and more.

Roy Hill chief executive Barry Fitzgerald is leaving his role in four months, with chief operating officer Gerhard Veldsman set to take the helm.

The shake up occurs as majority owner Hancock Prospecting is advancing its iron ore projects in Western Australia, including Hope Downs.

Fitzgerald will join the Roy Hill board and the Hope Downs board to further represent Hancock Prospecting.

Roy Hill chairman Gina Rinehart said Fitzgerald had made a remarkable contribution to the company’s mega project.

“Roy Hill had a successful pre-feasibility study, a close to completion bankable feasibility study and other than a smaller attractive camp, with office, workshop and sample storage shed, had no infrastructure when (Fitzgerald) came on board in 2010 and successfully helped to lead the project from final planning to construction and operation,” she said.

“Roy Hill achieved some important firsts, including with our terrific team, the fastest ever ramp up to 55 (million tonnes a year) in the Pilbara.

“… (He) will take responsibility for a range of major development projects using his considerable experience in the iron ore industry to drive growth and future value for the group.”

Fitzgerald said that Roy Hill was a “truly unique and once-in-a-career project” to work on.

“I have been humbled to be part of this mega project which really is the ultimate result of our executive chairman’s vision and sheer determination to see the tenements she acquired transform after much risk and work into the operation it is today,” he said.

“That determination was essential when all those around her at the time, advised not to undertake the Roy Hill tenements that a very experienced competitor had dropped.”

Roy Hill’s head of autonomous haulage system project, Anthony Kirke, will move to the role of chief operating officer.


Iluka Resources has listed Andrea Sutton as an independent non-executive director of the company.

The appointment is joined by her appointment as a member to the people and performance committee, and nominations and governance committee.

Sutton was previously chief executive and managing director of Energy Resources of Australia; Rio Tinto head of health, safety, environment and security; general manager of operations at the Bengalla coal mine in New South Wales.

She joined the Iluka board after retiring from her executive career in 2019.

Sutton is now a non-executive director at Red 5 and DDH1, and serves on the board of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Her director appointment at Iluka is subject to regulatory approvals.


Turquoise Hill Resources chief executive and director Ulf Quellmann has departed the company after Rio Tinto revealed its plans to vote against Quellman’s re-election in May.

Turquoise Hill and Rio Tinto couldn’t agree on ways to fund a $US1.5 billion ($1.94 billion) blowout in costs for the Rio Tinto-operated underground copper-gold mine expansion at the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

Turquoise Hill stated that it was the top shareholding company’s wish for the new leadership at Turquoise Hill to advance works based on mutual interest.

Quellmann’s resignation was based on a mutual agreement with the board, to serve the company’s interests.

Former Turquoise Hill chief financial officer Steeve Thibeault, who led the funding negotiations for the company with Rio Tinto in 2015, has been appointed as interim chief executive officer.

“The Special Committee remains committed to ensuring that negotiations with Rio Tinto continue under its supervision with a view to arriving at a funding plan that is in the best interests of the company,” Turquoise Hill stated.


Mayur Resources has appointed mining executive Simon Slesarewich to lead the company’s iron and industrial mineral sands business.

The appointment follows Mayur’s spin out of its copper and gold assets as Adyton Resources.

Slesarewich, an engineer by background, served in senior executive roles with Centrex Metals, Metallica Minerals, Macarthur Coal, Queensland Resources Council and Boardwalk Resources.

According to Mayur, Slesarewich was instrumental in leading the sale of Boardwalk Resources to Whitehaven Coal as part of a $5.1 billion transaction.

“We have done what we said we would do with our copper-gold portfolio for the benefit of our shareholders and PNG stakeholders,” Mayur managing director Paul Mulder said.

“With the support of the Mayur team, (Slesarewich) will present these high calibre projects, that cover iron ore, industrial minerals and battery metals (vanadium), to the market as pure play business(es).

“His priority will be to fast-track production at the Orokolo Bay project (in PNG), a simple, onshore, near-surface mining and processing operation.

“With direct exposure to iron ore at time when prices are at all-time highs, and final key approvals expected in (the second half of) this year, we are also preparing remobilisation for the bulk sample production.”


Kirkland Lake Gold has promoted senior vice president technical services, technology and innovation, Natasha Vaz, to the role of chief operating officer.

In this role, she will be responsible for leading and overseeing Kirkland Lake’s mine operations and technical support services.

The company has also promoted senior vice president, corporate affairs, sustainability and legal counsel, Jennifer Wagner to executive vice president corporate affairs and sustainability.

Kirkland Lake chief executive Tony Makuch said the company had a great deal of internal talent.

“(Vaz and Wagner) are very hard working, highly skilled executives who have been in the corporate sector for a long time and are well deserving of increased responsibilities,” he said.

Former president and chief executive of TMAC Resources, Jason Neal, will also be joining Kirkland Lake as executive vice president.

According to Makuch, Neal departed TMAC in February along with the sale of the company.

He was previously an investment banker focussed on the metals and mining sector.

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