JOHANNESBURG – Platinum group metals (PGMs) miner, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has announced that Natascha Viljoen has been appointed to succeed Chris Griffith as CEO.

Amplats earlier this week said Griffith would step down to pursue other career opportunities.

Viljoen will start in her new position on April 16.

“Viljoen is a seasoned senior executive, bringing 28 years of operational experience from across our mining industry,” Amplats chairperson Norman Mbazima commented on Thursday.

Viljoen is currently group head of processing at Amplats’ parent company Anglo American, a role she has held since 2014. In that role, she has led a trusted global team that has unlocked value across Anglo American’s processing operations safely and with a long-term perspective, recognising their critical commercial place in the mining value chain.

Prior to joining Anglo American, Viljoen was executive VP of processing at platinum miner Lonmin while also leading the company’s sustainability, employee health, environmental and stakeholder relations work at various times.

Viljoen started her career as an engineer at former steel producer Iscor and she has held leadership positions at gold miner AngloGold Ashanti and diversified miner BHP’s Klipspruit Colliery.

Under her leadership at Anglo American, her team has successfully leveraged and accelerated technology development and deployment to unlock the full potential of mineral endowments through processing, delivering significant financial value and competitive advantage.

She and her team are recognised for their work in developing coarse particle recovery technology, which enables the separation of metals from rock using a fraction of the energy and water of traditional methods, while increasing throughput and productivity.

Viljoen said she felt excited to take on her new role at Amplats and that she was fortunate to inherit a business in such a strong position.

“Griffith had reshaped Anglo’s PGMs portfolio to be fit for the future and I believe we now have an opportunity to re-imagine how we operate – in our mines and our host communities.

“It is also our responsibility to build on the variety of applications for our PGMs that already play a critical role in so many areas of modern life, from clean transport and energy, to health and jewellery, of course,” she added.

She believes safety is paramount, as is building a purpose-led high-performance culture with stakeholders.

“We will work to ensure that what we do and the benefits we bring for all our stakeholders are sustainable in every sense.”