Team

Owen O’Brien

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Owen O’Brien was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in March 2017. He also serves as an Executive Director of the company, having served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer for the preceding three months. He has 34 years’ experience in the mining industry and has held senior positions at Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater, DRDGOLD and Glencore among others.

Owen is a member of the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa, and a member of the Institute of Directors.

Chopper van der Bijl

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT: OPERATIONS

Chopper supervises all mining activities, while also evaluating market opportunities within the framework of the company's objectives and strategy.

Chopper’s experience in the mining industry spans more than 50 years. He learned his trade in the Anglo American group, with further exposure gained at Randfontein Estates and Western Areas. More recently Chopper has been involved in turning around and regenerating gold mining assets.

Chopper holds a BSc in Mining Engineering from University of the Witwatersrand, along with a Graduate Diploma in both mining and industrial engineering from the same institution. He also earned a Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of Cape Town.


Ursula van Eck

CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER: OPERATIONS

Ursula van Eck was appointed as Chief Financial Officer of VMR in May 2016, taking responsibility for the overall supervision of financial management and internal control system. She has some 20 years’ experience in financial management, advisory consulting and auditing in the mining sector. Prior to joining VMR, Ursula was a senior executive at SNG Africa, the largest black-owned and managed accounting and advisory firm in southern Africa and a co-founder and director of a niche consulting firm, advising companies expanding into Africa. She is a CA (SA), a member of the IOD (SA), holds a certificate in mining taxation from the University of South Africa, and is a Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner (CSAP).

Bonginkosi Ngqulunga

VICE PRESIDENT: MINING

Bonginkosi joined VMR in 2017 and currently serves as Vice President for all operations, including the Kopanang and Tau Lekoa gold mines, the Nicolor and West gold plant processing facilities, as well as the Buffels surface materials site.

Before joining VMR, Bonginkosi served as a General Manager and Mine Manager at Impala Platinum, where his responsibilities covered both underground and surface operations. Prior to this, he served at Evraz Highveld Steel’s Mapochs mine as Mine and Project Manager, in which role he oversaw compliance with new mining right requirements such as SLPs and LED programmes. He has also served as a senior mining engineer at Anglo Platinum.

Bonginkosi holds a BSc in mining engineering, along with an MBL and MDP.


Abia Mataboge

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Abia has held the position of human resources manager at Tau Lekoa since 2010. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the mining sector, primarily with gold and PGM operations. His expertise is in the fields of community, labour and industrial relations, with a focus on enhancing the sustainability of the mining sector.

Abia holds a Bachelor of Law degree, complemented by a post graduate certificate in labour relations management. He is currently studying for an MBL and is a member of the Black Management Forum.

Cordelia Vanda

HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGER

Cordelia Vanda is the health and safety manager at VMR, a position she previously held at Tau Lekoa. Cordelia is one of South Africa’s first women miners, and has more than 10 years’ experience at a number of South African deep-level hard rock mines. Cordelia is active in the promotion of the South African mining industry on a number of global forums. As Health and Safety Manager, her responsibilities include interfacing with a range of stakeholders.

Cordelia holds an S4 in mining engineering from the University of Johannesburg and speaks seven languages.


Peter Lugisani

PLANT MANAGER

Peter Lugisani has been managing the Nicolor plant since 2012, with his responsibilities expanded to include the West gold plant upon its takeover in March 2018.

Peter has more than 15 years of metallurgical experience in South Africa. Before joining VMR, he served as a metallurgical engineer at a number of large companies, including Harmony Gold, Lonmin, Afrisam and DRDGOLD.

Peter holds a Masters degree in Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a BSc (Hons) in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Pretoria.

Phillip Spencer

FINANCIAL DIRECTOR

Phillip Spencer joined VMR in April 2018 and was appointed as Finance Director in August 2018. He serves as an Executive Director of the company. He has 15 years of mining and finance experience and has held the role of Chief Financial Officer at Gold One Group Limited and was appointed as a partner in KPMG. Phillip is responsible for all aspects of the Group’s financial, treasury and commercial services with a specific passion for cost management and business optimisation.

Phillip holds a South Africa Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)) designation with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).