Mick Davis. Picture: REUTERS
Mick Davis. Picture: REUTERS

Former Xstrata CEO and reputed miner Mick Davis is laying the groundwork for a comeback by way of new company, Niron Metals, which is ready to pursue investment opportunities as they arise.

According to the Companies House, the companies registrar in the UK, Niron Metals plc was incorporated on June 12 last year, with Davis as one of its three directors.

The other two directors are Varda Shine, former head of diamond trading at De Beers; and Marcos Camhis, founder of Swiss-based FOS Asset Management, who acquired a nickel mine in the Dominican Republic at a time when the sector was in distress.

As first reported by The Telegraph in the UK, where Davis is CEO and treasurer of the Conservative Party, Niron Metals will look for  opportunities in industrial metals such as nickel, copper and zinc, although it has not yet enlisted large financial backers. 

Davis, who has a reputation for being an aggressive deal maker, built Xstrata into a FTSE 100 company before it was sold to its largest shareholder, Glencore, in 2013. What started as a seemingly friendly merger between the two turned into a takeover in which Davis was ousted as CEO.

His subsequent venture, X2 Resources, failed to conclude any deals despite raising more than $5.6bn to acquire mining businesses. After three years without a deal,  X2 freed its investors from their financial commitments and the company was closed at the end of 2017.

Davis has since been preoccupied with his work in politics and several charitable causes. 

In December, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed him to the Eskom sustainability task-team to assist in a turnaround at the ailing state-owned power utility. Davis was not available for comment.

Steynl@businesslive.co.za