Davenport Resources brings UK mining executive Ian Farmer in as chairman

Davenport Resources ASX DAV Ian Farmer Lonmin
Former Lonmin chief executive officer Ian Farmer has been appointed Davenport’s new chairman.

Davenport Resources (ASX: DAV) is continuing its board restructure by appointing former Lonmin executive Ian Farmer to take the chair.

Mr Farmer, who is based in the United Kingdom, served between 2008 and 2012 as chief executive officer of Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum miner. Before holding that position, he was chief strategy officer for the company.

This appointment comes as Davenport continues to drill up resources at its muriate of potash (MOP) project in central Germany.

Mr Farmer spent 26 years at Lonmin, and its original parent company Lonrho, with involvement in financial management, corporate development, marketing and strategy.

Davenport said he will lead the company’s next phase in the development of its German projects, with scoping studies having been recently completed.

Davenport has what it describes as a significant landholding in the South Harz region of central Germany, which has been a potash producing region for more than 100 years. The district was once located in the former East Germany.

Western Europe’s largest potash inventory

Davenport has established inferred potash resources of over 5 billion tonnes at a grade of 10.8% potassium, across four deposits.

Included within this resource is 1.8Bt of sylvinite at a grade of 13.2% potassium. The majority of the resources are located on granted perpetual mining licences.

Davenport interim chairman Reinout Koopmans will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Mr Koopmans said he is very excited by the appointment of Mr Farmer to lead the company that holds Western Europe’s largest potash inventory.

“Ian has tremendous experience in mining,” he said.

Signs of recovery in potash market

Davenport noted in its recent quarterly report that the potash market in the first half of 2020 has been “disappointing”, due to the poor weather conditions in both North and South America, compounded by the lockdowns and business closures caused by the spread of COVID-19.

However, it added, there are signs of market recovery in China, South East Asia and Europe. There are now forecasts that potash prices and volumes are expected to recover back to the rising long-term trends expected before the pandemic struck.

In February, Davenport announced a preliminary technical and economic study of its Nohra-Elende project in the South Harz region had demonstrated it could be mined at current and forecast potash and fertiliser prices.

The study envisaged a minimum 34-year mine life producing MOP, kieserite monohydrate (a high-value magnesium sulphate used in specialty fertilisers) and industrial-grade sodium chloride.

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