PETER Steenkamp takes over Harmony Gold at a critical point; although, you could probably argue that every year has been critical for the troubled gold miner since its failed Gold Fields takeover in 2003. That’s probably the reason Steenkamp’s predecessor - Graham Briggs - and Harmony COO, Alwyn Pretorius, announced their decisions to retire within weeks of one another last year. Briggs described Pretorius’ job as “a thankless task” and, truth be told, that could well a description of Briggs’ seven years at Harmony. All Briggs would say in June last year when his retirement was announced, was “... it’s time to go and do something else. Relax a bit. Put my feet up”. The unspoken problem – one that Steenkamp has to tackle head-on – is that Harmony receives no credit from investors for its Papua New Guinea assets consisting of a 50% stake in the Wafi-Golpu project and the wholly-owned Kili Teke project. If there’s one other potential problem facing Steenkamp it’s with investors who recall the two years he spent as CEO of Pamodzi Gold. The company was put into provisional liquidation on his watch which does not look good on his CV irrespective of the finger pointing as to who was really to blame.
LIFE OF PETER
Steenkamp is a hard core, hard rock miner with some 30 years experience, although in the last few years of his career he diversified into coal and platinum with ARMCoal and ARM Platinum from 2009 to 2013 while his most recent job was with Sasol Mining. He holds a degree in mining engineering from Pretoria University.
- Web Address: www.harmony.co.za