MINEWEB: Trans Hex deputy chairman Bernard van Rooyen joins us now. Bernard, you announced today a new managing director of your company – Llewellyn Delport. Last week there was a SENS announcement to say that Jeffrey Ovian has been made managing director of Trans Hex Angola. You’re getting your managerial team together. But, if I can take you back to the end of last year, when Calvin Gardiner, the CEO, resigned, at that point in time you took a few of your directors, including yourself, onto the executive of the team. Has it taken you six months then to find a replacement?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: It has indeed. Finding good people is really quite difficult.
MINEWEB: I see you went to Anglo American for Llewellyn and to BHP Billiton for Jeffrey?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: Well,, you know, it is said that the mining industry has to train and we tend to train for one another. So on this occasion we are on the receiving end.
MINEWEB: Bernard, as far as the Angolan perspective is going, and I believe you are actually in Angola at the moment – are you making progress in finding new deposits there?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: We are. We have two in production and two under development. And we are hoping to find other opportunities.
MINEWEB: One hears so much about the wealth, the mineral wealth of Angola. Are you just scratching the surface at the moment?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: Well, like much of this part of the world, there has not been any serious exploration since independence which is after all, 28 years ago. And this is really only getting under way now. Such work as has been done has been confined to the offshore oil industry. But we believe that there are great opportunities here.
MINEWEB: And the Angolan economy as a whole – is it starting to lift its head up?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: It’s starting to lift its head up. There is even new foreign investment on the agricultural sector – things such as sugar and coffee. This was once a great agricultural country, and that is now beginning to be restored.
MINEWEB: And stability, from a political perspective, entrenched?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: It’s a very stable country. The government is in control. They have an understandable legal system inherited from colonial days. So one really knows where they are, and the authorities honour their agreements.
MINEWEB: Another area where there has been a lot of diamond prospecting in a country that’s been through difficult times is the DRC. Are you involved much there?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: We are looking at possibilities in the eastern DRC. But we’re not as nearly advanced there as we are in Angola.
MINEWEB: As far as the recent unrest is concerned from the Democratic Republic of Congo, what have your intelligence reports been telling you?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: Well, in the east, it’s really been the usual ethnic problem. Mbonya Malanga who [… line break] origin, took matters into their own hands. They had a string of complaints. Hopefully that has now been settled. The difficulty in Kinshasa really was an outpouring of public anger at the United Nations because they hadn’t prevented the problems in the east. But this seems to be under control now.
MINEWEB: So calm after a little bit of a storm last week?
BERNARD VAN ROOYEN: Indeed, yes.
MINEWEB: Bernard van Rooyen is the deputy chairman of Trans Hex. David, there’s an interesting company. Do you remember, one of our market commentators, Charles Graham from Mawenzi loved this company. Trans Hex was one that he used to tip very strongly.
DAVID SHAPIRO: Fortunately, I listened to him.
MINEWEB: Did you buy some?
DAVID SHAPIRO: Yes. They haven’t performed all that well. I think they’ve been up as far as R28. I think we had very great prospects for them. We believed that they were simply pulling out good diamonds. The diamond market was improving. Yet it just seems to have fallen away, back to the R20 level. And just hopefully, with fresh management and the rand stabilising now we can take advantage, maybe, of a slightly weakening rand, together with better management coming through.
MINEWEB: So you would be holding on to your share?
DAVID SHAPIRO: I think at these levels, yes. I think we’ve seen the worse. We’ve seen Mvela, that whole group, come down. Mvela, Northam, all of them have retreated. Probably these are the levels that one can look at them again.
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