Mwana Africa’s chairman, Mark Wellesley-Wood, has left the company with immediate effect, Metal Bulletin understands.
Stuart Morris, senior independent director and chairman of Mwana’s audit committee, has been appointed interim chairman while the company seeks a replacement.
The members of the board found they had a “difference of opinion” with Wellesley-Wood, ceo Kalaa Mpinga told Metal Bulletin.
“We just had a different vision of the assets,” he said. “It is very difficult to drive a company forward if you have the chairman thinking one way, while the rest of the board feels differently.”
Wellesley-Wood joined the Zimbabwean mining group in September last year.
Wellesley-Wood told Metal Bulletin in a telephone interview following his departure that the disagreement centred around strategy.
“Unfortunately things do get distorted,” he said. “There was some disagreement within the board. I did not have the full support from the board for the changes I thought was necessary for the company to implement the transition it is undergoing. There was no point in going on. So we opted for a divorce.”
“I am disappointed [it didn’t work out],” he said.
“I am where I was before Mwana: happily retired,” Wellesley-Wood said, but he did not rule out getting involved in the industry again.
Mpinga said Mwana is focused on getting the Bindura Nickel Smelter funding in place this year to restart the smelter in Zimbabwe. This can take the form of a joint venture partnership or another form of investment.
Mpinga hopes that Mwana will have a new chairman in place before the end of the company’s financial year in March.
Mwana owns the Trojan and Shangani nickel mines, as well as the Freda Rebecca gold mine in Zimbabwe. The company has exploration licences in Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mwana Africa’s chairman, Mark Wellesley-Wood, has left the company with immediate effect, according to a Mwana statement.