Antofagasta chief quits after mine let-down

The chief executive of FTSE 100 copper mining company Antofagasta has resigned after disappointing investors with the slow progress of development of its new £1bn mine in Chile.

News of Marcelo Awad's departure was something of a shock, coming just a week before Antofagasta is due to publish its full-year profit figures.

Despite effectively running the London-headquartered company, Mr Awad was controversially not on the main board of directors. Consequently, he is not required to disclose his pay, bonuses or shareholdings.

Chairman Jean-Paul Luksic, scion of the Luksic family which still owns around 56 per cent of the £12bn company, has taken over operational control while a successor is found.

Antofagasta would not comment on whether, or how much, Mr Awad will get as a payout.

He became chief executive in 2004.

Some observers pointed to the slow progress made in developing the company's fourth major mine in Chile, Esperanza, as the reason for Mr Awad's sudden departure.

"The Esperanza mine is a big project and there has been some frustration that it has taken longer to get into full production than hoped. The feeling is Awad took his eye off the ball," said one investor.

Others claimed that the business, named after the Chilean region where most of its mines are, had begun to look slow-footed compared to rivals such as Rio Tinto, which have pushed into major new projects in Asia and Africa.

Antofagasta refused to give any reason for Mr Awad's departure.

In a bid to stave off concerns about next week's financial results, the company stressed that the figures would be in line with the market's expectations.

Shares in the company fell only 7p to 1230p, as investors took heart at the assurance about profits.

Despite its unorthodox corporate governance, the shares still trade at a premium to rivals because of the company's habit of paying out big dividends to investors.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam