Perilya (ASX:PEM), the New South Wales zinc and lead miner, today confirmed the appointment of Paul Arndt as Managing Director after overwhelming shareholder approval at the Company’s Annual General Meeting.
Patrick O’ Connor, who will remain as Non-Executive Chairman, confirmed the Board’s confidence in Mr Arndt’s proven abilities, and his suitability for the role.
“The Board is extremely pleased with the appointment of Mr Arndt. With immediate effect, a number of executive responsibilities will pass to Mr Arndt in his capacity as Managing Director. In the short term however, I intend to remain very much hands-on during the bid period, in particular to ensure the current external interest in Perilya is concluded with the best possible outcome for Perilya’s shareholders,” Mr O’ Connor said.
In his Chairman’s address, Patrick O’ Connor attributed the successful repositioning of Perilya against a challenging market environment, largely to the leadership of Mr Arndt.
“Since February 2008, we have achieved productivity improvements of more than 80% at the Broken Hill Operations, and are on track to reduce the net cash cost per pound of zinc produced to US$0.65 to US$0.60 by January 2009,” Mr O’ Connor said.
“Importantly, the recent reductions in operating costs and step improvements in productivity are sustainable, and will reposition the Company significantly lower on the industry cost curve.
“We have also just extended the life of mine at Broken Hill from three years to nine years at conservative metal price assumptions. The extended life of mine is a result of the increased Reserves and Resources that have been achieved with the cost reductions and productivity improvements in the past year.
Mr O’ Connor commended Mr Arndt and the team at Broken Hill for securing the lower cost profile of the operations at a time when several other lead and zinc operations in Australia and worldwide have been forced to close their doors.
Mr Arndt said he is committed to utilising Perilya’s established infrastructure at Broken Hill, including its fully-owned 2.8Mtpa processing plant, to drive shareholder value.
“I am confident that having taken all the tough, yet necessary, decisions in the past several months, the costs of which have largely been paid for in the past quarter, we are starting off the new year in the enviable possible position of having a clean balance sheet, no corporate debt, cash in the bank, and a lean, sustainable operation.
“We are well positioned to weather a sustained period of low metal prices; and to rapidly ramp up production in response to rising metal prices when economics allow,” Mr Arndt said.