New CEO appointed to steer gold miner Ora Banda

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Luke Creagh has joined Ora Banda as its Chief Executive Officer.
Camera IconLuke Creagh has joined Ora Banda as its Chief Executive Officer. Credit: File

West Australian gold miner Ora Banda Mining has pulled off a major recruitment coup by landing Northern Star Resources’ highly regarded former Chief Operating Officer, Luke Creagh as its Chief Executive Officer.

Ora Banda Chairman, Peter Mansell said Creagh’s appointment was a major fillip for the company. He said: “We couldn’t be happier that Luke is joining us. He has had considerable experience managing mining operations and is highly qualified to guide Ora Banda through its current operational reset plan.”

“We look forward to working with him for many years to come and are confident that, together, we can extract maximum value from Ora Banda’s highly prospective land package.”

Creagh said he was excited to be joining the company.

We have highly prospective tenements supported by quality infrastructure. I am looking forward to being a part of this team to drive value through operational execution and maximising the potential of the geology, with a focus on exploration and resource definition.

Ora Banda Chief Executive Officer, Luke Creagh

Creagh, a mining engineer, comes with 20 years’ experience in both mining and contracting companies, in Australia and overseas. He was operations manager at Barminco before joining Northern Star in 2015.

He rose through the ranks, holding senior positions including general manager of business development, general manager of strategy and growth and operations manager before landing the COO position in 2018.

Northern Star fought to keep him when it appeared he might leave.

In its 2021 annual report, Northern Star reported 150,000 restricted shares had been issued to Creagh during the 2020 financial year “as a retention tool in the face of a competitive offer of employment elsewhere, vested on 1 July 2021 as a result of satisfaction of the service condition to remain employed with the company on 1 July 2021.”

Northern Star’s then chairman, Bill Beament, told the company’s AGM in November 2020 it had been forced to act quickly to retain Creagh.

“We succeeded in keeping him, which I am delighted about because he is a huge talent and is extremely important to our company,” Beament said.

In the 2020-2021 financial year, Creagh was one of WA’s best-paid in the business, collecting a tidy $3.1 million in a combination of $575,000 base salary, cash bonus of $183,000 and $2.35 million in shares.

Creagh’s appointment will sharpen attention on Ora Banda in coming weeks and months as gold watchers learn the changes he will make.

In April this year, the company announced a strategic reset after a detailed review of its flagship Davyhurst mining and processing operations, about 120km north-west of Kalgoorlie.

Management said at the time its core focus was to maximise short-term cash returns over the ensuing two years by streamlining operations and a targeted cost review process. Cash generated is to be redeployed into advancing exploration and near-mine resource development opportunities.

The market agreed with Mansell’s assertion that Creagh’s appointment was a shot in the arm for the company, with 14 million shares changing hands – the biggest number since mid-April – and the company’s stock finishing the day more than 23 per cent up on yesterday’s close.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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