Glencore Plc, a British–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company, is massively restructuring its Zambian subsidiary, Mopani Copper Mines Plc, with the termination of acting chief executive officer John Chiwele’s employment contract.

Glencore engaged Grit Consulting of Australia, a change management consulting firm, to undertake a thorough Mopani mine-wide audit and help transform performance that will bring back the mining company’s profitability.

Highly-placed sources close to Glencore and Grit Consulting said Chiwele, whose substantive position was chief financial officer, will hand over the position to the incoming chief executive officer Nathan Bullock, an Australian national, who had been appointed by Glencore.

Bullock is set to join Mopani from BHP Olympic Dam in Australia.

In the interim, Chiwele will continue carrying out the role of acting chief executive officer until Bullock takes over the top post this month.

Chiwele would, however, remain within Mopani but as a director on the Mopani board of directors.

Chiwele started acting as Mopani Mine chief executive officer in July, this year, after the departure of Chirs Vermuelen, who took over the responsibility following the deportation of Johan Jansen.

Sources said the ongoing audit exercise by Grit Consulting, commissioned by Glencore, was influenced by fatalities at Mopani’s Nkana and Mufulira operations at the beginning of this year.

The exercise started in April this year and expected to run up to the end of the year.

As part of the transformation exercise, Glencore scrapped positions of chief officers in strategic departments and appointed general managers in the ongoing restructuring programme.

The senior managers who have so far been appointed are former Mopani chief processing officer for Nkana and Mufulira, Francis De-Peer, who becomes general manager – Smelter and Refinery as former chief mining officer for Nkana and Mufulira and Frans Smith who has been appointed general manager – Mining and Concentrator at Mufulira.

Colin Farr from Australia comes to Zambia as general manager – Mining and Concentrator at Nkana, while former chief officer for productivity improvement, Barry Hodgkinson is the general manager – Business Transformation.

A press query emailed to Mopani corporate affairs seeking confirmation of the turn of events, through Public Relations Manager Nebert Mulenga last Tuesday remained unanswered by press time.

However, in a memorandum to all employees, Mopani Copper Mine chief services officer Kyansenga Chitoshi announced the appointment of Bullock as the new Mopani Mine chief executive officer, with other changes which include Glencore acting copper department industrial lead Mike Westerman and head – copper assets, Africa Mark Davis.

Westerman, who is overseeing the operations of Mopani as executive director, will also hand over to Bullock at the end of this month.

While Grit Consulting is still undertaking the audit exercise across all company operations in new concentrator, environmental, medical, legal and secretarial, Mufulira central mine shaft, general management and executive officers, further recommendations on how to turn around the fortunes of Mopani, would be made to Glencore.

The sources explained that more appointments would be made during this month.

– Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.