Dacian, Austral and more: This week’s executive movements


Keep up with the latest executive movements across the mining sector, featuring Dacian Gold, Northern Minerals, Austral Resources and more.  


Dacian Gold has announced that Leigh Junk has stepped down as managing director and chief executive officer as the company reassesses its operating model.

It comes as Dacian suspends mining at its Mt Morgans project in Western Australia amid rising cost pressures. The company said it had experienced a 68 per cent increase in contractor load and haul rates (excluding fuel) since the end of the 2020–21 financial year, with a further 17 per cent increase forecast for the 2023 financial year.

Dacian said rising costs had been compounded by supply-chain challenges and approval delays.

“The operating model Dacian has been running for the past five or six years is not viable in this increasing cost environment,” Dacian non-executive director Mick Wilkes told investors in a conference call.

Geology and exploration manager Dale Richards has been appointed in Junk’s place.


Heavy rare earths producer Northern Minerals has appointed Nicholas Curtis AM as executive chair and Bin Cai as executive director.

Initially appointed as a non-executive director (and chair) of the company in November 2021, Curtis brings more than 30 years’ experience in mining and finance to the executive team, with a particular knowledge of the rare earths industry.

Cai has been involved with Northern Minerals (NTU) for more than 10 years and was appointed as a non-executive director in July 2021 after acting as an alternate director since 2013.

Northern Minerals director Adam Handley said Curtis and Cai would be valuable additions to the executive team as the company advances its strategy of building a full-scale beneficiation processing facility at its Browns Range project in Western Australia.


White Rock Minerals has appointed Peter Mangano as non-executive chair following the retirement of Peter Lester.

With more than 30 years’ experience working in the resources and energy industries, Mangano is a revered fund manager, resource analyst and corporate advisor.

Lester retires as non-executive chair after more than nine years as a director. He was influential in advancing the Mt Carrington gold project to a positive pre-feasibility study and played an important role in the acquisition and development of the Red Mountain zinc project in the US, among other achievements.


Andromeda Metals has appointed Austen Perrin as an independent non-executive director. Perrin is a revered company director with more than 35 years of experience in corporate and financial roles.

With considerable knowledge in transport, logistics, infrastructure and mining industries, Perrin has been chief financial officer of AJ Lucas Group, Whitehaven Coal, Asciano and Pacific National in the past. He is currently a non-executive director at AJ Lucas Group and Round Oak Minerals.

Andromeda chair Mick Wilkes said Perrin brings significant financial experience, expertise and leadership to the Andromeda board.


Ben Coutts joins copper producer Austral Resources as exploration manager. Coutts has deep technical international experience in exploration and mine geology, having held senior roles with Freeport, BHP/S32 and Evolution Mining.

With a strong track record of upgrading mineral resources in copper and base metals projects, Coutts’ appointment will enhance Austral’s oxide exploration program and complements Austral’s reciprocal non-binding term sheet with Glencore.

“With the appointment of Ben, we add additional depth to the exploration team,” Austral executive director Dan Jauncey said. “In a climate of decarbonisation and buoyant copper price, we are well funded to embark on an aggressive exploration campaign, aimed at unlocking the huge exploration potential whilst also seeking to increase our mine life.”

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