BNC ‘fondly’ remembers David Brown

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The late former CEO of Impala Platinum and Zimbabwe’s Kuvimba Mining House, David Brown

VICTORIA Falls Stock Exchange-listed resources outfit, Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) became the latest in a string of big mining houses mourning mining guru, David Brown, who died in South Africa last week aged 59.

In a statement released at the weekend, BNC chairman Muchadeyi Masunda chronicled the accomplishment of a man whose work changed the lives of many in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and singled out his drive towards “commendable community oriented projects in and around Mhondoro Ngezi district of Mashonaland West province” during his tenure as Zimplats chairman about a decade ago.

“We join David’s widow, Julia, and children, Dan and Nicole, as well as friends, colleagues, Kuvimba Mining House (majority shareholder in BNC) and the mining industry in Zimbabwe and South Africa in mourning the passing on of an icon, a visionary and passionate leader whose immense contribution to the growth of the mining industry in both countries shall remain indelibly etched in our memories,” Masunda added.

Earlier in the week, Platinum group metals (PGMs) mining companies Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) and Northam Platinum and telecommunications company Vodacom paid tribute to David Brown.

David Hugh Brown was born in Llandudno, Wales, on August 7, 1962 and passed on after suffering a heart attack on June 18.

In South Africa, Mining Weekly reported that the Brown matriculated at Bishop’s in Cape Town, in 1980 and after obtaining a BCom and CTA from the University of Cape Town, graduated as a chartered accountant in South Africa in 1988. His first job was as an articled clerk at Arthur Young, 1984, at R520 a month.

He served as chief finance officer of Implats from January 1999 before being appointed chief executive in 2006, and subsequently retiring and joining the Vodacom board in January 2012, and serving as chairperson for Vodacom’s audit, risk and compliance committee.

He had a hands-on management style and liked leading from the front.

“Leadership is about building teams by giving more autonomy for team members to shine and develop,” he once told Mining Weekly.

His philosophy of life was that every journey begins with a small step “so get walking”, was his advice.

What he expressed as his hope for the future was that the people of South Africa would get on with achieving what they were capable of.

“That is, greatness, we must embrace our diversity, as it is our strength. We need to trust one another as government, organised labour and companies if we are to save the mining industry — this is needed now more than ever,” he emphasised to Mining Weekly in an interview in 2013, shortly after leaving the platinum sector and heading what was then Coal of Africa Limited and what is now MC Mining, which had a market capitalisation of R650 million and 640 employees under his leadership.

His notable achievements at Implats included securing the Royal Bafokeng Nation as the anchor empowerment partner for the group, and fostering this enduring partnership to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Brown was also instrumental in leading the development of the group’s Zimbabwean operations, which grew the company into a multi-jurisdiction integrated PGMs producer.

He had a hand in Impala’s accommodation strategy to create sustainable human settlements and access to decent accommodation for all employees residing in informal structures.

He was independent non-executive chairperson of the Northam Holdings board and Northam Platinum board, having joined the platinum group metals company  in November 2017.

He served as a member of Northam’s remuneration committee and chairperson of Northam’s nomination committee and investment committee.

In a Press release, Northam stated that Brown contributed a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise and expressed the company’s appreciation of his “invaluable leadership and wise counsel”.

The directors of Northam Holdings and Northam Platinum extended their deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

“I am shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of David, a stalwart of the southern African mining industry. He was not only chairman of Northam’s board but a friend and colleague,” said Northam chief executive Paul Dunne.

“He worked at board level in the sector for more than 23 years. My fellow board members and executive team join me in extending our sincerest sympathy to his family and loved ones, friends and colleagues.

“David instinctively knew that people are at the centre of all things mining. He will be sorely missed,” Dunne added. — Mining Weekly/Business Reporter