Pilbara Minerals has announced the appointment of its new Managing Director and CEO. 

Highly-experienced mining and resource sector executive Dale Henderson will be stepping into the role.

The appointment of Mr Henderson, who has held the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Pilbara Minerals since 2017, follows a wide-ranging and thorough executive search process initiated in February after Pilbara Minerals’ long-serving Managing Director and CEO Ken Brinsden advised his intention to step down from the role. 

Mr Henderson was selected from a field of outstanding candidates because of his strong lithium industry experience, outstanding leadership skills, strong cultural values and work ethic, and his clear understanding of the future of the lithium raw materials industry and Pilbara Minerals’ vision to become a major long-term player in the rapidly growing lithium industry supply chain. 

During his tenure as COO, Mr Henderson has also forged strong relationships with Pilbara Minerals’ key stakeholders, including the Traditional Owners at Pilgangoora, the Company’s customers, project partners and key investors, and has played a significant role in helping to develop and implement Pilbara Minerals’ ESG and sustainability framework. 

Mr Brinsden will formally step down as Managing Director on 30 July 2022, however he will work closely with Mr Henderson over the next two months to ensure a smooth and effective transition. 

A highly-experienced engineer with experience in both mine operations and development in the global resource sector, Mr Henderson has been a proven leader operating in both brownfields and greenfields settings across a number of commodities, including the metalliferous mining sector and the onshore oil and gas sector. 

During his career, Mr Henderson has worked in senior roles for companies including Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. Prior to joining Pilbara Minerals in 2017, he held senior leadership roles with FMG in mine operations and project development. 

Since joining Pilbara Minerals in 2017, Mr Henderson has worked closely with Mr Brinsden, initially to implement the production moderation and cost-cutting strategy that was devised in response to the severe downturn seen in lithium raw materials prices in 2017- 2019.

Mr Henderson also played a key role in overseeing operational improvements at the Pilgangoora Project following initial commissioning and ramp-up challenges, helping to drive the acquisition strategy for the adjoining Ngungaju Plant, and establishing the foundations for the long-term growth profile for the Pilgangoora Operation. 

More recently, Mr Henderson has led the technical and operational teams that have implemented Pilbara Minerals’ rapid production growth programs, allowing the Company to take advantage of the current strong lithium market conditions and record pricing, and paving the way for longer-term growth initiatives at Pilgangoora such as the P680 and P1000 expansion projects. 

With Mr Henderson assuming the role of Managing Director and CEO, the Company will now review its arrangements in respect of leadership for operations including in respect of the role of Chief Operating Officer. 

Pilbara Minerals’ Chairman, Tony Kiernan, said, “We are delighted that Dale has accepted the Board’s offer to become Pilbara Minerals’ next Managing Director and CEO, following an exhaustive international search process that yielded some outstanding candidates.

“Dale is an exceptional, high-calibre individual who has already made his mark at Pilbara Minerals over the past five years as COO. 

“Apart from his strong leadership skills and extensive technical and operational experience, Dale has a deep understanding of our current operations, the importance of maintaining the Company’s well-developed culture and work practices, and a clear understanding of the global lithium supply chain and Pilbara Minerals’ role in the future of this exciting industry. 

“I have every confidence that Dale is going to be an exceptional Managing Director and CEO. He is a very strong, capable and inclusive leader and has the industry experience, leadership skills and cultural values to take Pilbara Minerals forward into its next exciting growth chapter. 

“I would also like to acknowledge the enormous contribution that Ken Brinsden has made to Pilbara Minerals since joining the Company in 2015. 

“He led Pilbara Minerals through the initial Pre-Feasibility Study, construction and ultimate commissioning and ramp-up of the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project – spearheading the Company’s remarkable transformation from junior micro-cap to now an ASX100 listed company. 

“Ken also played a vital role in leading the Company through the very difficult period which we faced in 2017-2019. 

“The decisions and actions he took were instrumental in getting the Company through to where it stands now as a major force in the global battery materials landscape and the leading pure play lithium company on the ASX with 100 per cent ownership of the largest independent hard-rock lithium operation in the world.

“I am delighted to say that Ken will be assisting with the leadership transition over the next few months and also plans to remain as Pilbara Minerals’ nominated director on the POSCO joint venture, working with POSCO and Pilbara Minerals to establish this exciting downstream processing venture and bring it online. 

“Ken will also, in the months following stepping down as Managing Director, remain a Special Advisor to the Company and Board. 

“It has been a great pleasure working alongside Ken and he leaves the Company with our best wishes and grateful appreciation for the role he has played, not just on behalf of our shareholders but also for the entire lithium industry in Australia. 

“We are all looking forward to this next exciting chapter under Dale’s leadership and, on behalf of my fellow Directors, we welcome him to the Board and look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”


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