Changing of the guard at Rinehart’s Roy Hill

Article by Stuart McKinnon courtesy of The West Australian

Long-serving Roy Hill chief executive Barry Fitzgerald will step down from the role in the middle of the year with chief operating officer Gerhard Veldsman taking the helm at the Gina Rinehart-controlled company.
Mr Fitzgerald, a 10-year veteran of the iron ore miner and trusted lieutenant of Mrs Rinehart, will join Roy Hill’s board as Hancock Prospecting’s representative.
He will also represent Mrs Rinehart on the board of Hope Downs.
Roy Hill said today the executive changes would take effect from July 1 to support strategic growth plans across Hancock’s diversified portfolio of mining assets.
The company announced a three-month transition period from March 31 in the lead up to the handover date.
In other executive moves at Roy Hill, the head of its autonomous haulage system project Anthony Kirke, will replace Mr Veldsman as chief operating officer.
The company has also hired Komatsu executive Diederik Lugtigheid to replace Mr Kirke. Mr Diederek will arrive in Perth from Chile in June to take up the role.
Mrs Rinehart, who is executive chairwoman at Roy Hill, thanked Mr Fitzgerald for his “remarkable contribution to our mega project”.
She noted Mr Fitzgerald had helped lead Roy Hill from the final planning stage of its eponymous iron ore mine in the Pilbara to construction and operation.
“Roy Hill achieved some important firsts, including with our terrific team, the fastest ever ramp up to 55mtpa in the Pilbara,” Mrs Rinehart said.
“Barry has helped build over 10 years’ loyal and dedicated service, what we believe is the best mining company to work in, in Australia.
“We are very pleased for Gerhard to now take us forward where we will continue to improve our technology and efficiencies and contribute to the State and country through the provision of more mines after approvals, investment, jobs, royalties, taxes, opportunities and further contribution to communities and worthwhile causes.”
Mrs Rinehart said the company was pleased to retain Mr Fitzgerald’s extensive industry and company knowledge as he moved across to Hancock Prospecting where he would represent the company on the Roy Hill and Hope Downs boards.
She said Mr Fitzgerald would also take responsibility for a range of major development projects.
She said Mr Veldsman, a recent winner of CEO Magazine’s chief operating officer of the year award, would drive operational excellence at Roy Hill.
Mr Fitzgerald said Roy Hill was a unique and once-in-a-career project to work on.
“I have been humbled to be part of this mega project which really is the ultimate result of our executive chairman’s vision and sheer determination to see the tenements she acquired transform after much risk and work into the operation it is today,” he said.
Mr Veldsman said he was excited in Roy Hill’s bold vision for the next ten years, building on its reputation as a leading innovator to optimise and grow the operations.
“The mining industry is vital for the country’s economy and increasingly due to our success we are able to invest in and play a key role driving the research to improve technology and business practices that will ensure not just mining but other businesses remain sustainable,” he said.
Roy Hill is 70 per cent owned by Hancock with the balance held by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, South Korea’s POSCO and China Steel Corporation.