Vedanta hires former Gold Fields chief executive to run copper, zinc mines

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Vedanta Resources has appointed South African mining veteran Chris Griffith to run its base metals unit, including its recently regained Zambian copper mines.

Griffith stepped down as chief executive of Gold Fields in December, after a short stint at the Johannesburg-based gold producer, following an unsuccessful bid to buy Canadian Yamana Gold.

Much of Griffith’s career has been at Anglo American where he ran Kumba Iron Ore and was instrumental in restructuring and turning around Anglo American Platinum.

Griffith will head Vedanta’s base metals unit, including zinc mines in Namibia and South Africa, an iron ore business in Liberia and will have oversight over processing businesses in the Middle East and India.

A mining engineer, Griffith will probably be more focused on restoring Konkola Copper Mines to profitable operation after the Indian company was given back control of the assets by Zambian authorities after years of protracted battle over the ownership.

“I look forward to driving innovation, operational efficiency and sustainable growth across Vedanta’s base metals businesses, creating KCM as a cornerstone asset for the company and growing the group internationally,” he said in a statement.

Vedanta has pledged to invest about $1 billion in the Zambian operation, where some of its underground mines “need immediate recapitalisation”, Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe said on Sept. 5.

(Reporting by Felix Njini in Nairobi; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Promit Mukherjee and David Goodman)