Debswana Diamond Company has announced that Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo will retire from the business with effect from 30 November 2018, following 26 years of dedicated service to the organisation. The Shareholders of Debswana have appointed Albert Milton, currently General Manager of Jwaneng Mine, to take over as the Company’s Managing Director with effect from 1 December 2018. The Shareholders have requested Balisi to stay on for three months as a consultant to ensure a smooth leadership transition.
Balisi was appointed as Managing Director on 1 January 2014 and his leadership has seen Debswana record unprecedented performance across a number of business areas, including safety, operational performance and strategic development.
During Balisi’s tenure, the business has experienced a marked improvement in overall company Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) from 0.96 to 0.2. He led the High Performance Organisation 2018 strategy to success, notably delivering the multi-billion dollar Cut 8 project safely and on time. Balisi also progressed Debswana’s major capital projects, including the advancement of Cut 9 from feasibility to almost execution stage and Cut 3 from concept to pre-feasibility stage. He also oversaw the progression of Letlhakane underground study as well as the transformation of Letlhakane Mine to a tailings plant based operation.
Albert’s career with Debswana spans more than 25 years, during which he has gained extensive diamond and coal mining experience at both operational and strategic level. He holds of a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Mining Engineering degree from Camborne School of Mines in England, and has worked at Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines, Jwaneng Mine, Venetia Mine and Morupule Coal Mine, where he held various management positions.
Albert was appointed as General Manager for Jwaneng Mine in 2013. Prior to this, he was the General Manager of Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) for five years. Whilst at MCM, he led the expansion of the mine from a one million to a 3.2 million tonne per annum operation in order to meet the energy demands of the nation. Among his many achievements at Jwaneng Mine, he oversaw the safe and timely delivery of the multi-billion dollar Cut 8 project, which started producing ore to plant in 2016 and achieved bottleneck in 2018 as planned. Cut 8 was the first major contract mining operation undertaken in Botswana involving multi-national entities in partnership with local contractors, and achieved a TRIFR of zero in 2017 while at peak production.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group and Chairman of Debswana, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Balisi for his exemplary leadership of Debswana over the years. Both of Debswana’s shareholders – the nation of Botswana and De Beers Group – have benefitted from his excellent stewardship of the business and it has gone from strength to strength. Balisi has not only developed the operations, but also the people of Debswana, leaving a strong legacy behind him.
“I am pleased to say that Debswana will continue to benefit from that leadership legacy as Albert will be taking all his many years of outstanding experience in the organisation to lead Debswana in its next chapter. There are very exciting times ahead for Debswana with a huge amount of opportunities on the horizon and I believe Albert is the ideal candidate to take the business forward and maximise its potential.”