Endeavour Mining chief operating officer Mark Connelly has signed off from the company he helped build into one of West Africa's emerging leaders with plans to "start from scratch and do it again".
In a surprise move, the respected WA mining man leaves in the wake of Endeavour's second major transaction in a year, the $370 million friendly acquisition of Canada's Avion Gold announced yesterday.
Mr Connelly became Endeavour's chief operating officer last year when his company Adamus Resources merged with Endeavour.
The Avion deal means Endeavour will produce between 282,000 ounces and 304,000oz this year, making it one of the biggest gold producers in West Africa.
Mr Connelly also hinted that more acquisitions were on the agenda, with Endeavour in talks with at least two other regional miners. But if Endeavour leads any more regional consolidation in West Africa it will do so without Mr Connelly working in a day-to-day role. He announced his intention to quit his executive role at Endeavour at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie-Boulder yesterday, although he will remain a non-executive director.
With the Avion acquisition, Endeavour will have producing mines in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali, and a fourth under construction in Ivory Coast.
Mr Connelly said the operational management of Endeavour would now be run out of West Africa "as it should be" and, with strong operational performances over the last two quarters, it was the right time to move on. "Perth is my home, and I've spent the last five years flying backwards and forwards to West Africa," he said.
"I think I've done a good job and I'd challenge anyone to say I haven't delivered on what I said I would."
Endeavour's two operating mines beat guidance in the first half of the year, producing 102,691oz and the company said yesterday it had registered operating cash flow of $US47.6 million for the second quarter of the year.
While Mr Connelly would not be drawn on the details of his future plans, he told _WestBusiness _he would look for another executive role, mostly likely at another West Africa-focused gold play, and was considering "a couple of opportunities".
"I want to start from scratch and build another one," he said.