• ASX gold miner Evolution Mining looks within to appoint CFO Lawrie Conway as its new CEO and MD
  • Markets down as China’s Covid Zero policy hits metals stocks again – including lithium


Well done to new Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) CEO and MD Lawrie Conway, the number cruncher turned top man at Australia’s third largest gold miner.

The most amusing thing about this specific announcement is the extensive executive search for a new CFO to replace Conway in his old position is being undertaken by Heidrick and Struggles, who sound like the personal injury lawyers Wile E. Coyote kept on retainer for his many unsuccessful damages claims against the Road Runner.

We also get a look into the remarkable salaries commanded by top mining executives.

Conway’s new position will draw $990,000 a year, plus some tasty short and long term incentives.

Jake Klein, the face of ASX 100 listed Evolution since its inception in 2011 is not riding off into the sunset just year, commanding $875,000pa plus incentives by staying on as executive chair until at least the end of 2024.

Don’t get too excited though, that includes super, and Conway and Klein will be forgoing their old director’s fees, which used to deliver a fixed sum of $135,000 and $300,000 respectively.

It’s been a year Evolution would rather forget, missing its own lofty standards and trimming profits and dividends as issues primarily at its Red Lake mine in Canada bit hard.

But if Red Lake is to work out, as Klein hopes, it needed this year to get to something shinier down the line.

“The creation of this role will allow us to continue to deliver on both Evolution’s strategic ambitions and operational performance and establishes the organisational structure for the next chapter of growth and development,” Klein said.

“Lawrie will bring a necessary whole of business focus as we progress the implementation of our vision of building Evolution into a premier, global gold company.”

It remains to be seen if adding another senior executive will do the trick, but shareholders staring at at 47.06% loss year to date will be hoping for a turn around.


RBC: Conway an ideal replacement

RBC mining analyst Alex Barkley said Conway was “an ideal replacement” for Evolution, but expected a negative reaction from the market given Klein’s status as EVN’s public face.

He said Klein’s role could transition to a more strategic focus, with Conway taking charge of its day to day affairs.

“The transition occurs as EVN is poised for growth at multiple sites, including Red Lake mine and mill expansions, Ernest Henry depth extension, Cowal underground development, and a potential Mungari milling expansion,” Barkley told clients in a note.

“However, given Mr Conway’s industry experience and existing integration across the business, we expect him to ably transition into the CEO role. He will continue to be supported by experienced COO Mr Bob Fulker.

“Since EVN’s foundation in 2011, a key element of the company’s success has been astute portfolio upgrades. Mr Klein can continue to impact this area as his executive role transitions to a greater focus on EVN’s strategic and growth ambitions.”



Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) share price today:




Market down as China Covid continues to roll

China locked down 21 million people after a Covid outbreak in Chengdu, ending a major car show five days early among other things.

The reaction from the commodities complex has been understandably difficult.

Dalian iron ore futures fell yesterday and are down again today 4%.

Singapore 62% Fe futures have fallen 2.21% to US$93.35/t, extending losses below the US$100/t mark.

The materials sector is down 1.86%, with majors Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), South32 (ASX:S32), Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and Northern Star (ASX:NST) among the losers.

But it’s been a tough morning for lithium and rare earths stocks as well.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) is down 4.45%, with Allkem (ASX:AKE), Lynas (ASX:LYC) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) all among the weakest performing big boys.

China’s EV sector is still in growth mode on a year on year basis, but slowing deliveries in August have given some reason for concern for battery metals producers, with major Chinese manufacturers Li Auto and Xpeng seeing deliveries fall 56% and 16% month on month in August to 4571 vehicles and 9578 vehicles respectively.

Li Auto’s deliveries were down 51% YoY, with Xpeng’s up 33% year on year. Nio bucked the trend, delivered 10,677 vehicles in August, up 6% on July and a whopping 81.6% up year on year.

Other commodities fell sharply overnight, with nickel and zinc the worst performers, down 5.1% and 5.8% respectively while copper dropped 2.6% to US$7597/t and gold dropped below US$1700/oz.



Ground Breakers share prices today: