Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tom Albanese

Tom Albanese

Vedanta Resources

TOM Albanese is repairing his reputation following his speedy departure from Rio Tinto in 2013 as well as building the standing of Vedanta Resources, the Indian oil and metals company that is seeking parity with the likes of Albanese’s former employer. For our purposes, however, the focus falls on Vedanta’s exposure to Zambia’s Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), as well as its rare distinction of being one of only a few, new large scale investors in South Africa’s mining sector. First blasting at the $630m, 250,000 tonnes per year Gamsberg zinc mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape province took place in July. Total investment, which includes the Skorpion concentrator, will be a whopping $782m. Albanese is taking its development slowly, however, given the retraction in commodity markets. At KCM, conditions are more perilous. A slide in the copper price and power restrictions that saw KCM scale back usage a fifth will inevitably lead to large restructuring, said Albanese – although he added that Vedanta remained a long-term investor in the region. A decision by the Zambian government to lower underground mining royalties was welcomed.

LIFE OF TOM

Albanese, a qualified mining engineer, joined Rio Tinto in 1993 on the group’s acquisition of Nerco and held a series of management positions before being appointed CEO of the group’s copper division and head of exploration in 2004. He was appointed group CEO in 2007, but left in 2013 after $14bn in aluminium and coal write-downs. He joined Vedanta Resources Holdings as chairman in 2013 before being appointed CEO of the renamed Vedanta Limited the following year.