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Lonmin, the South African platinum miner, has announced the resignation of its chief operating officer two years after he took on the job.

The London-listed company said Ben Moolman would be leaving the company early next month for personal reasons

Lonmin’s Chief Executive, Ben Magara said: “My colleagues and I would like to thank Ben for his contribution to Lonmin and wish him well in his future career.”

Mr Moolman’s resignation comes after Lonmin reported a difficult start to its new financial year as production declined and it struggled to improve productivity at its operations.

Overall output from its Marikana mining operations, which account for 95 per cent of the company’s total, was 7.8 per cent lower in the three months to December than in the same period of the previous year.

“Lonmin’s operational and safety performance continues to be a challenge for the stock,” said analysts at RBC Capital Markets.

“Recent operational performance has been disappointing and, despite an improvement in platinum group metal prices year to date, a stronger rand has offset most if not all of this benefit. In our view, the shares remain challenged given current tight margins and near-term under-investment in the Marikana ore body, which is likely to present medium-term challenges in terms of operational flexibility. “

Shares in Lonmin fell 4.5 per cent to 105.75p, extending losses since the start of the year to 25 per cent.

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