Prelea, who was president of Vast’s Romania business, replaces Roy Pitchford who decided to step down in December.
"My appointment as CEO has occurred at a highly active and exciting time for Vast, and I am delighted to have been chosen by the board to take the company forward.
“I have of course been involved with Vast for quite some time, and my involvement in the Romanian mining and metals sector goes back some 26 years.”
He added: “I joined Vast in 2012 to support the development of these assets into profitable mines.
“With a strong network of contacts, extensive experience in-country and sound corporate knowledge, I look forward to supporting the continued growth of our company.
"It is with this experience and goal in mind that I have set out a framework of objectives for 2018, both corporate and operational, through which I intend to deliver real returns for our shareholders.
“One of my primary tasks is to implement a wide-ranging cost cutting and saving programme at the corporate level during our next phase of growth, and, when balancing this with increased operational performance at our producing mines, I believe I can substantially enhance our current financial model.”
Prelea highlighted that the company will continue to focus on core assets in Romania and Zimbabwe – namely the Manaila and Baita Plai polymetallic mines in Romania and the Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine in Zimbabwe.
“We have comprehensive work programmes underway at all of the above interests, aimed at directly increasing production, efficiency at every asset and move towards operational profitability in Romania in the near term.
“News announcements will be made regularly in regard to achievements, in addition to our standard quarterly production reports - the first of which will be delivered by the end of this month.”
Expansion is, meanwhile, also noted to be core pillar of Prelea’s strategy as highlighted that new projects and opportunities were now being assessed in both Romania and Zimbabwe. “However, I would like to stress that expansion to new opportunities will be only be advanced if it can be demonstrated that it will not impact current projects or overall performance,” he said.
At the same time, the company is continuing talks over potential institutional investments which are expected to be the “principal component” of Vast’s future financing requirements.
“We are currently in possession of several offtake offers that are all more attractive than the historic pricing achieved, and we are now focusing on the financing aspect that will be attached to the agreements.
“There is one potential offtake and financing partner that we have identified as being particularly appealing and I hope to be in a position to announce an update on this imminently.”
“With this outlook for 2018, where both corporate and operational activities look set to deliver significant value to our shareholders, your board will not be resting idle.
“Our performance over the next 12 months will be critical in achieving these objectives and it is with this in mind that we need to ensure that our board and management are capable and aligned to deliver.”
Vast is seeking to strengthen its board with “additional operational expertise” in the coming months, and Prelea intends to monitor performance across all areas of the business to “ensure that everyone associated with our company is providing the requisite skills and experience”.