17/11/2015 - 06:01

Netscher off and running with Toro

17/11/2015 - 06:01

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Veteran mining executive Tim Netscher will be hoping his golden run continues when he takes the reins as chairman of uranium play Toro Energy this week.

Netscher off and running with Toro
ENERGY: Tim Netscher is taking on the chairman’s role at Toro Energy. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Veteran mining executive Tim Netscher will be hoping his golden run continues when he takes the reins as chairman of uranium play Toro Energy this week.

The move comes less than six months after Mr Netscher stepped into the same role at strong-performing gold miner St Barbara after joining the board earlier this year.

Mr Netscher, a former managing director at Gindalbie Metals, is also a director of Aquila Resources, Western Areas and Gold Road Resources.

This portfolio has had a mixed performance, with St Barbara the standout.

The gold miner’s shares have increased roughly 10-fold, from a low of 10.9 cents each in November last year. St Barbara is 1,024 per cent higher at $1.225 at the time of writing.

That puts it ahead of other ASX-listed local gold producers (see box), and the ASX gold index, which was up 44.8 per cent for the period.

Northern Star Resources more than doubled in value, as did Saracen Mineral Holdings.

Gold producers generally were benefiting from a lower exchange rate in that time, Mr Netscher told Business News, and a higher gold price generally.

But St Barbara has experienced a particularly strong upswing after a soft couple of years. “The major issue was operational performance, which gave rise to poor financial performance,” Mr Netscher said.

The share price rise was a testament to the success of management in improving operations, he said. The biggest move was the sale of the troubled Golden Ridge mine in the Solomon Islands earlier this year, for just $100, after weather and issues with the nation’s government had affected production.

With a streamlined portfolio, St Barbara has refocused on two operations, including at Gwalia near Laverton. Mr Netscher said he felt the commodities market was undershooting, and would improve, with gold and uranium up before iron ore.

Mr Netscher, who recently resigned as chairman of uranium play Deep Yellow, was bullish about the fundamentals for yellowcake.

“Supply growth is limited and together with this, there have been some mine closures,” he said.

“Demand growth is reasonable, with new nuclear reactors being built in several countries, especially in China. Japanese nuclear reactors are (also) currently being restarted, with more slated to come.“

Mr Netscher said the priority at Toro would be updating feasibility work for its Wiluna project, in preparation for an eventual uranium price lift.

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