Miner Lonmin appoints Zimbabwean as chief executive

British platinum miner Lonmin on Tuesday said it had chosen Zimbabwe national Ben Magara to be its new chief executive after Ian Farmer last year stepped down from the role owing to ill-health amid a turbulent time for the company.

Magara, executive head of engineering and capital projects at rival Anglo American Platinum, will begin his new role at the start of July, Lonmin said in a statement.

"The board of Lonmin plc is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Magara as its new chief executive officer and as a director with effect from 1 July 2013," the statement said.

A Zimbabwean national, Magara has been resident in South Africa for the last 19 years, the statement added.

Magara, who will be 46 in June, said he was "excited at the prospect of leading team Lonmin and contributing to making a positive difference."

He added: "The success of the mining industry is vital to the future of South Africa and as the Lonmin team we will drive excellence and build value with and for all our stakeholders."

Simon Scott, who has been acting chief executive since August 2012, will resume his role as chief financial officer when Magara officially steps into his new role.

"Simon rose magnificently to a huge challenge following Ian Farmer's illness and we are deeply grateful to him for his unswerving commitment and his effective leadership in a difficult time," said Lonmin chairman Roger Phillimore.

Farmer had stepped down permanently from his role in December.

The end of Farmer's tenure was overshadowed by the violence at its Marikana mine that left 46 people dead, including 34 who were killed by police gunfire on August 16.