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Wolf Minerals announce leadership transition

Drakelands mine

Richard Lucas appointed as interim managing director following resignation of Russell Clark

WOLF Minerals Ltd, operators of the Drakelands open-pit tungsten mine, near Plymouth, have appointed the company’s chief financial officer, Richard Lucas, as interim managing director. He replaces managing director Russell Clark who has elected to resign from the post.

With the mine’s processing plant improvement plan nearing completion, the next six months are expected to be a pivotal time for Wolf Minerals as they seek to achieve full ramp up in order to realize their objective of becoming reliable steady-state producers of tungsten concentrate for the world market.

To ensure the successful long-term operation of the mine, the company says extensive site-based commitment will be required from its executive team over the coming months.

However, Mr Clark, who put in place the team and structures required for the company to achieve reliable steady-state production, advised that, for a number of reasons, he would be unable to relocate to the UK.

As a result, the board and Mr Clark have mutually agreed that now is the right time for transition to a new managing director.

In his role as interim managing director, Richard Lucas will substantially increase his commitment and presence in the UK, while Mr Clark will stay on until the end of April 2017 to assist with the transition and handover.

Since joining Wolf in 2011, Mr Lucas has been instrumental in managing all elements of the company’s equity financings, managing relationships with off-takers, as well as co-ordinating and managing the company’s debt.

He brings more than 18 years of financial experience across the mining, construction, property development and professional services sectors to the role.

To assist Mr Lucas in the final production ramp up and to further develop the operating platform, the board has also agreed to appoint Calum Semple as a contract chief operating officer, based on site with effect from 1 May 2017.

Mr Semple, A British national, Chartered Engineer and internationally recognized expert in assisting resource companies reach their full potential, previously led PwC’s Mining global consulting practice.

He has recent and relevant experience in both tungsten and other commodities, and has helped companies implement process and productivity improvements at all stages, including start-up, growth and turn-around phases.

Commenting on the changes, Wolf’s chairman, John Hopkins, said: ‘Over the last three-and-a-half years Russell has transformed Wolf from an Australian-based project developer into a UK producer through the construction of the Drakelands project.

‘He was instrumental in obtaining the required equity project finance for Drakelands, as well as securing our recent licence extension and 24/7 work permit. On behalf of the board, I’d like to sincerely thank him for his efforts and achievements to date at Wolf, and wish him well for his future endeavours.’

Mr Hopkins continued: ‘The company now needs to complete the ramp up and settle into its long-term form as a UK-based world-leading producer of tungsten concentrate, with reliable steady-state production. This naturally requires a concerted focus on the UK operations to bring about this change.

‘The company has a highly capable leadership team which is ready to build on Russell’s strong platform. Richard Lucas will lead this effort and will have a substantially increased presence in the UK. His strong credentials place the company in an excellent position to complete this final transformation, and I know he enjoys the support of our major shareholders given their familiarity with his skills and abilities.’

Mr Hopkins added: ‘As a board, we are also very keen to ensure that the necessary resources are readily available in the UK to ensure that Wolf becomes a reliable producer, as we reach the end of the improvement work programme for the processing plant. Accordingly, we have appointed Calum Semple to assist the team in completing the process.’

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