EMED Mining ceo and company founder Harry Anagnostaras-Adams has resigned, effective immediately, the company said on Thursday September 19.

The news comes just after EMED announced it was closer than it had ever been to achieving the all-important administrative standing at its flagship Rio Tinto copper project in Andalucía, southern Spain.

Rod Halliday, currently ceo of EMED Mining subsidiary EMED Tartessus, has been appointed interim ceo until a permanent replacement is found, the company said.

“The board would like to thank Mr Anagnostaras-Adams for his dedication, leadership and contribution to the company during his tenure as ceo,” the company said.

“Mr Anagnostaras-Adams tendered his resignation after the company has made strong progress with the permitting process. Mr Anagnostaras-Adams has led EMED Mining to a strong position with regard to project planning, financing and team building,” it added.

Jose Sierra, a non-executive director of EMED Mining, has been appointed as the chairman of Tartessus.

Anagnostaras-Adams will remain a significant shareholder and option holder of EMED Mining, and will also remain chairman of Kefi Minerals, an affiliate company of EMED Mining, to focus on its development.

The EMED board has said it has “continued confidence” in the Rio Tinto copper project and the EMED Mining team, and will appoint “an appropriate new ceo to lead EMED Mining through the production stage of the project”.

“As the company moves into a phase of development and production, I have taken the decision to step down to allow the appointment of a new ceo with a skill-set more appropriate to the future role,” Anagnostaras-Adams said in a statement.

“I would like to thank shareholders for their continued support and look forward to the company’s transition into a major, low cost European copper producer.”

The move has come as something of a shock to analysts, especially as the company has now come so close to achieving the final requirements for the restart of operations at Rio Tinto.

“Harry has long served with EMED, advancing what has proved to be an exceptionally difficult permitting process which we hope is approaching its conclusion. However, clearly, Spanish bureaucracy should not be underestimated,” analysts at Investec said in a note on Thursday.

In June, Anagnostaras-Adams had described himself as “frustrated but confident” in the future of the project, which has suffered numerous setbacks as it moves towards the restart of operations.

“Ceo Harry Anagnostaras-Adams resigns to stand aside for someone with some development skills, with immediate effect. Rod Halliday steps in as interim ceo, while someone new is found. This is a bit of a surprise,” Numis analysts added.

EMED’s shares took a knock following the news, dropping to 7.9 pence (12.6 cents) each on London’s Alternative Investment Market as of 9:14 BST on Thursday, down 5.67%, compared with the close of trading the day before.

Claire Hack 
Twitter: @clairehack_mb