Petra Diamonds Boss To Step Down After 13 Years Of Being In Charge Of The Company

Petra Diamonds has vowed to regain the confidence of its investors following an increase in its earnings and after being able to overcome the challenges of a difficult year.

An increase of 37 percent in underlying earnings was reported by the miner on the previous year. It totalled to $195.4 million (£148.5 million) for the six months ending 30 June.

Yesterday, the firm announced that Johan Dippenaar, chief executive, will be stepping down following a difficult year. The year has seen the company greatly affected by delays in production, a strong South African rand, and the confiscation of a diamond parcel in Tanzania.

Last June, the miner was forced to raise $170 million (£129 million) from investors on order to overcome the problems that it encountered.

Dippenaar has been at the helm for 13 years. He said that the firm was able to overcome adversity and the concentration was now on “regaining investor confidence.”

He stated: “We have had a lot of challenges in the first half of the year, particularly with the parcel confiscation in Tanzania but we have made a strong come back in the second half.”

He added: “We believe the company has a very strong base now we have overcome those challenges – you can never say in mining there won’t be more challenges, but we hope people see we have dealt with adversity and we hope to regain the confidence of investors.”

Dippenaar also said that it was important to “win back the trust” of the government of Tanzania amid the ongoing discussions to release the 72,000 carats from the Williamson mine of the country that is currently blocked from being exported.

Tanzania also owes VAT refunds amounting to approximately $25 million to the firm.

61-year-old Dippenaar will continue to be in command until a successor is found.

He stated: “After 29 years in mining diamonds it remains an exciting industry, the excitement of finding a $5 million or $20 million stone never goes away.”