Stockhead – Magnetite is building strength, welcoming industry heavyweight Simon Wandke to the board

Iron Ore | Press | 03 Jun 2022

Magnetite Mines has firmed up its position as one of the iron ore sector’s best credentialed boards, with the former head of the world’s fifth largest iron ore mining business signing on as a non-executive director.

Simon Wandke, until last year the head of the world’s top steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s mining division, will join the junior iron ore developer’s board of directors.

It comes ahead of the completion of a DFS this year on the Razorback iron ore mine in South Australia, among the best-positioned of a wave of high grade iron ore developments in the global pipeline to capture the emerging market for low emissions steelmaking.

Until late 2021, Wandke was executive vice president and CEO of ArcelorMittal Mining, a producer of some 65Mt of iron ore and 7.5Mt of met coal each year.

That position came off the back of 40 years’ experience in the mining and minerals industry, including senior management, strategy and commercial positions globally with a focus on the development of greenfield and brownfield projects, commercial strategy, strategic marketing, risk management and ESG.

His move onto the board at MGT follows senior positions in Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia including stints with some of the steel sector’s biggest names like BHP, where he started his career in 1981 and Ferrexpo, where Wandke became chief marketing officer in 2006.

‘’I am delighted to join the MGT Board at this critical phase and I look forward to supporting the company as it completes the DFS and develops the Razorback Iron Ore Project with maximum value for stakeholders,” Wandke says.

Poised for long-term success

It comes as Magnetite Mines (ASX:MGT) looks to position itself for success as a long-term producer of high grade magnetite iron ore.

“Simon brings a wealth of strategy, management and marketing experience from the mining sector and has a great track record of success, particularly in the development of effective commercial strategies across multiple iron ore businesses, product types and geographies,” MGT chair Mark Eames says.

“His valuable experience will provide further confidence in the business’ direction and strategy and I look forward to working with him during this exciting time.”

It is the latest step in the board renewal at MGT, following the appointments of experienced ASX-listed company  directors Jim McKerlie and Paul White as non-executive directors earlier this year.

Former RFC Ambrian managing director and MGT chief development officer Stephen Weir was also appointed the new acting CEO of the company in March following former executive chairman and CEO Peter Schubert’s decision in April to pass the baton.

MGT released a pre-feasibility study in July last year outlining a go-forward scenario which would see Razorback produce more than 2.7Mt of ~68% Fe iron ore each year over a 23 year mine life at breakeven 62% iron ore prices of just US$54/t, well under half of current levels.

DFS delivery on track

A DFS is on track to be delivered to the market by the end of the year after the close of a $15.8 million rights issue last month to fund ongoing technical investigations and engineering on the landmark study.

MGT is tapping into a rich vein of support from the industry for higher grade iron ore developments as grades at traditional operations like those in the Pilbara decline.

It is believed increased supply of high grade iron ore will be crucial in any scenario that could see the steel sector decarbonise or reduce its CO2 emissions footprint.