As predicted last year, the great reshuffle of mining heads continues with the latest announcements from global mining giant Rio Tinto, AIM-listed Sylvania Platinum and West African gold explorer Perseus Gold.

The industry is in a reshuffling phase and the announcements of resignations and appointments stream in. Are all these decisions good for the companies? A close eye will have to be kept on the success of these companies this year.

The announcement from Rio Tinto that its CEO, Tom Albanese, will step down as chief executive with immediate effect raised several questions.

Rio Tinto said its assets are not as recoverable as originally predicated and as a result expects to recognise a non-cash impairment charge of approximately US$14 billion (post tax) in its 2012 full-year results.

The impairments include an amount of approximately US$3 billion relating to Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, as well as reductions in the carrying values of Rio Tinto’s aluminium assets (mostly Rio Tinto Alcan but also Pacific Aluminium) in the range of US$10 billion to US$11 billion.

Albanese is replaced with Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh, while Doug Ritchie, who led the acquisition and integration of the Mozambique coal assets in his previous role as Rio Tinto Energy chief executive, has also stepped down by mutual agreement.

Aquarius Platinum’s CEO, Stuart Murray, has been named chairman of Sylvania Platinum following his resignation from Aquarius Platinum in October 2012. He will be replacing outgoing Richard Rossiter from 1 April; Rossiter resigned from Aquarius in October 2012.

Speaking on Sylvania’s appointment of Murray, CEO Terry Mconnachie says: “I am delighted to welcome Murrayas the new chairman of Sylvania. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the mining industry that spans over 25 years. In particular, his extensive experience in the South African platinum sector will be invaluable in our quest to build Sylvania into a leading low-cost PGM producer. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Richard Rossiter for his contribution to the board over the past years.”

Perseus Mining announced the appointment of Jeff Quartermaine, the company’s CFO, as its new MD and CEO.

Quartermaine replaces Mark Calderwood, who will be stepping down after being with the company since 2004.

Perseus chairman Reg Gillard says: “Calderwood has done a great job in guiding the company through the early stages of its corporate development. He has assembled a high-quality asset base and a strong team of people and we are now in a very solid position to capitalise on his outstanding work and to continue the company’s transition to becoming a multi-mine, mid-tier gold producer.

“Jeff has proven himself an excellent CFO and in the past year he has increasingly taken on management challenges passed on by Calderwood and the board.”

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