Outgoing South32 COO to lead London-listed gold miner Chaarat in new year

AIM-listed gold miner Chaarat has appointed South 32’s outgoing corporate operating officer (COO) Mike Fraser as its new chief executive, in a move which will take effect on January 17, 2022.

In a statement, the incoming CEO detailed his excitement to take Chaarat, which owns the Kapan operating mine in Armenia and the Tulkubash and Kyzyltash gold projects in Kyrgyzstan, into ‘its next stage of development’.

Fraser counts more than 20 years or extensive experience in the global gold mining and metals industry, with his most recent position at South32 commencing in April 2018. Prior to that he was president and COO of the Australian firm’s Africa region.

During his time at South32, Fraser has been directly responsible for the operations of underground mines, smelters, and project development. He has formerly held senior roles at BHP and Mozal Aluminium, in Mozambique.

His new company Chaarat was founded in 2007 with an initial goal of exploring and developing a gold project within the Tien Shan gold belt in Kyrgyzstan, central Asia. The company bought the Armenian Kapan mine and processing company from Polymetal in 2019.

Kapan is expected to deliver 57,000 gold-equivalent ounces this year, while the Tulkubash project will produce an average of 95,200 ounces per year following first gold pour in 2023. However, debt financing for the project has been delayed by an ongoing dispute between Canada’s Centerra Gold and Kyrgyzstan over the seizure of the Kumtor mine.