Brian Menell with miners in Rwanda
Diamonds

History

Brian Menell has more than 25 years experience in mining, oil, diamonds, precious metals, energy infrastructure, agriculture, wine production and motor racing.

– De Beers
He started his career in 1988, when he joined De Beers. During his eight years at De Beers, Brian was based in London, Antwerp, Namibia and South Africa and held executive positions in the rough diamond market management, diamond trading and mining divisions. He was part of the team that negotiated with the Namibian government for the creation of the national diamond mining company NAMDEB.

Brian later worked for Diamdel in Antwerp (De Beers’ rough diamond trading subsidiary), where he co-ordinated the company’s financial and administrative operations in Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. He also traded rough diamonds on the markets and managed the buying of rough diamonds in Brazil, Venezuela and Angola.

Brian was later posted to South Africa as the Managing Director of Diamdel (SA), De Beers’ rough diamond trading subsidiary.

– Anglovaal
After leaving De Beers, Brian joined his family’s company, the Anglovaal Group, a diversified mining company, which was established in 1932 by his grandfather, Slip Menell. The company was one of South Africa’s most significant conglomerates, with operations in a wide range of mining and industrial sectors across Southern Africa.

Interests were held through Anglovaal Industries Pty Ltd. (cement, construction, steel, food processing, car tyres, consumer electronics and financial services), and through Anglovaal Mining Pty Ltd. (gold, platinum, copper, manganese, iron ore, coal, nickel and diamonds). The Group was listed in Johannesburg and London but controlled by the founding families. At its peak the Group employed some 80,000 people and had a market capital of +/- $2.5bn.

In 1999 the industrial interests were unbundled (as AVI and AVENG) with Brian and his brother Rick Menell retaining control of the mining interests (AVMIN).

As a partner in control and Executive Director of Anglovaal Mining, Brian oversaw exploration, new business development, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. He managed a number of acquisitions and mergers, including the sale, purchase and development of assets in South Africa, Zambia, DRC and Namibia. Most notable was the sale to De Beers of Anglovaal’s 50% interest in the Venetia mine (South Africa’s largest diamond mine) for $600m. This remains De Beer’s biggest ever corporate acquisition.
Brian also lead the hostile bid for ISCOR (the former South African State Steel, Iron Ore and Coal company) in partnership with the parastatal investment company, IDC. This lead in 2006 to the break-up of ISCOR and to the creation of Kumba, Exxaro and Mital Iscor Steel
In 2001 Brian and Rick sold their controlling interest in Anglovaal Mining (AVMIN) through Anglo American Plc, one of the biggest mining conglomerates in the world, to create most of what is now African Rainbow Minerals Limited, South Africa’s largest listed black empowerment company.

Other

Since the sale of Anglovaal, Brian Menell has managed, or been a key participant in projects and businesses across 17 sub-Saharan African countries, these range from building the Koidu Kimberlite Diamond Mine in Sierra Leone, development of the largest private petroleum products Tank Farm and deep water jetty in Apapa Port in Lagos (sold to Glencore in 2008), the Kisumu Ethanol Plant in Kenya, Jatropha plantations in Mozambique, development of the EOV off-shore oil field in Gabon (as First Africa Oil Plc. merged with Bowleven Plc in 2007) and many others. He is a former Chairman of Energem Resources Inc. and former Chairman of First Africa Oil Plc, and has served on the Boards of various other resource companies.