Amplats CEO resigns from world’s largest platinum producer

Anglo American Platinum’s first female chief executive officer, Natascha Viljoen, resigned after three years at the helm to join Newmont Corp., the world’s No. 1 gold miner.

Viljoen will continue to serve as Amplats CEO for the next 12 months, before taking up the position of chief operating officer at Newmont, Johannesburg-based Amplats said in a statement on Wednesday.

Viljoen took over the top job at the Anglo American unit from Chris Griffith in February 2020 to become one of the most powerful female leaders in precious metals mining.

The announcement of the 52-year-old metallurgical engineer’s move to Newmont comes less than 10 days after the US miner offered $17 billion to acquire Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd.

“Natascha has shown outstanding leadership transforming technical processing capabilities at Anglo American and we are excited to have her join the Newmont executive leadership team,” Tom Palmer, Newmont president and CEO said in a separate statement.

Viljoen’s shift to Denver-based Newmont caps a mining career spanning more than a decade including working at AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. and BHP’s chrome and coal business.

Viljoen began her mining career in 1991 as a trainee engineer at steelmaker Iscor.

“While I have identified the next phase of my career, my commitment to delivering our clear objectives during this year is as firm as ever, beginning, of course, with keeping our people safe, every day,” Viljoen said in the statement.

Viljoen’s departure from Amplats, the world’s most valuable platinum miner, comes as worsening power outages in South Africa disrupt production and threaten to curb profit margins.

Amplats has started the process of identifying Viljoen’s successor, Chairman Norman Mbazima said in the same statement.