Board of Directors & Management Team
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ROBERT NORMAN ASHLEY
Independent Non-Executive Chairman
Robert joined the Company in September 2021 as the Independent Non-Executive Chairman. He currently also acts as an Independent Non-Executive Chairman for Galena Asset Management S.A. and Galena Asset Management Pte. Ltd.
Robert began his career as the Private Secretary to Rt. Hon. Sir William McMahon CH MP, former Prime Minster of Australia. He then moved to a series of roles as a Money Market dealer at Inter Company Securities Pty Ltd and Ord Minnett before joining Rothschild Australia in Melbourne in the same capacity. Robert was seconded to Harris Trust and Savings Bank Chicago for training in foreign exchange and derivative instrument trading. Robert relocated to Sydney to assume senior trading and management positions with the Rothschild Group in Australia and Asia ultimately being appointed as a Managing Director of NM Rothschild & Sons and as global Head of Treasury from London. He was a member of the NMR Management Committee, the Executive Committee and the Credit Committee. He was Chairman of The London Gold Market Fixing Limited. Robert worked as a consultant for multiple companies and as a non-executive director of AIM listed companies Hidefield Gold plc and East West Resources plc (Ambrian Capital). He represented Galena interests as a non-executive director of Western United Mines Limited, Cornwall. Robert studied electrical engineering at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University of NSW before switching to a career in finance and banking.
His focus as Chairman will be ensuring effective oversight of the Company’s strategy and key issues by the board of directors as well as maintaining efficient communications with Shareholders.
MARK EDWARD THOMPSON
Executive Vice Chairman
Mark co-founded the Company in 2019 and is an experienced investor, trader, and executive in the natural resources sector with a background managing large portfolios of risk within the alternative assets space, investing in mining companies, providing strategic advice, and holding senior executive positions.
Mark began his career at Deutsche Bank in Metal Derivatives, futures and options market making team. Mark then moved to NM Rothschild & Sons where he was an Assistant Director and Head of Base Metal Options Trading, before moving to Trafigura Group / Galena Asset Management as Head of proprietary trading of base metals and bullion as well as being a Portfolio manager of GAM Metal Derivatives Fund, managing US$830 million. In 2008, Mark joined Apollo Management International LLP as a Partner managing approximately US$120 billion across Private Equity, Capital Market Funds and Hedge Funds. Mark holds a B.A. in Physics from the University of Oxford.
As at the date of this document, Mark holds the position of Executive Chairman. Conditional upon Admission, Mark will become Vice Chairman of the Company operating in an executive role. His focus as Vice Chairman will be coordinating the executive committee and supporting the Chairman to ensure the Company’s strategy and key issues by the board of directors.
Chief Executive Officer
Max co-founded the Company in 2019 and has strong experience of Financial, Operational and Project start-ups as well as international experience in Africa, Southern America, and Europe, mainly in Mining and Finance. As part of his role as Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Max led the purchase of the Hemerdon Mine out of receivership.
Prior to founding the Company, Max started his career at Pan African Minerals Ltd as a Corporate Development Executive, where he assisted in raising an initial US$40 million in 2012 and a feasibility fund of US$25 million in 2013. Max then held various roles at the company resulting in being General Manager of Commercial based in Burkina Faso. From 2017 to 2019, Max acted as a Consultant to Brazil Tungsten Holdings Ltd in Brazil and West Africa Lime Company in Mali. Max holds an MSc in Accounting and Financial Management from Birkbeck, University of London as well as a B.A. in Economics & Politics from the University of Leeds.
His focus as Chief Executive Officer will be on continuing the successful growth of the Company through effective management. He will be supported by his executive committee in working closely with company employees, customers, and suppliers as well as Shareholders, investors, and the communities in which the Company operates.
ANTHONY NIGEL WIDDOWSON
Chief Financial Officer
Nigel was appointed to the board of the Company in July 2021 as Chief Financial Officer. He has over 20 years’ experience as a CFO within SME’s, VC/PE backed and leveraged business across a variety of sectors including natural resources, construction, leisure and technology.
Nigel began his career as an Auditor in PricewaterhouseCoopers, before becoming a Corporate Finance Manager. On leaving PWC he worked as a Finance Analyst and in Strategy and Business Development in British Telecommunications plc and Cable and Wireless Communication plc respectively. Nigel then worked as CFO of Complinet Group Limited where he oversaw the business from start up through rapid global expansion to eventual sale. He then became CFO of Shoaibi Group, a US$0.5 billion turnover Oil and Gas business based in Saudi Arabia. Most recently Nigel acted as Group CFO for Horatio Investments Limited, a family office investment vehicle, and as Group Finance Director for Burrington Estates, a property developer with approx. £60 million turnover. Nigel holds a BSc. in Physiology and Pharmacology from Southampton University. He has been a member of the ICAEW since 1995.
His focus as CFO will be overseeing all financial aspects as well as internal auditing to ensure to continued good management and profitability of the company.
FRANCIS PATRICK HARCOURT VANDEN-BEMPDE-JOHNSTONE
Francis joined the Company as a non-executive director in May 2019 as part of his role as an Investment Adviser to Baker Steel Resources Trust Ltd, one of the Founder Shareholders.
Prior to this role, Francis started his career in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions at Citibank and entered the mining business in 1989 with Cluff Resources plc where he became Group Projects and Operations Manager. Francis was a key member of the team who built Freda Rebecca, the largest gold mine in Zimbabwe, the Ayanfuri Gold Mine in Ghana and negotiated for and discovered the Geita Gold Mine in Tanzania. He joined Ridge Mining plc as Commercial Director and was an integral member of the team that undertook a feasibility study, financed and developed the Blue Ridge Platinum Mine in South Africa. Ridge Mining was acquired by Aquarius Platinum Ltd in July 2009 for £134 million.
Francis represents Baker Steel Resources Trust Ltd as a significant shareholder and will act as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director.
RICHARD (Rick) WILLIAM MACFARLANE MAXEY
Richard joined the Company as a Non-Executive director in December 2020 and informally represents the Company’s shareholders, Henry Maxey and Eden Rock.
Richard started his career as an Associate Consultant in the Transaction Services Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategy Group, specialising in European commercial due diligence and strategy consulting. Having worked on several corporate and private equity transactions, Richard moved to Earlcrown Ltd, a private equity and property group with a range of portfolio investments, primarily in the consumer goods sector. Richard then worked for a South African family office, Vasari Global Ltd, as a principal, running the specialised private resources fund gaining extensive knowledge of, and experience in, the natural resources sector investing in public and private mining businesses worldwide. Richard currently works as a consultant investment advisor to an investment advisory firm, Eden Rock Group, that invests its proprietary capital with a focus on venture and early-stage private equity across a range of sectors. Richard holds a B.A. in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford and is a CFA charterholder.
Richard will act as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director.
Grace joined the Company in September 2021 as a Non-Executive Director and the Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.
Grace qualified at Arthur Andersen and later moved to Deloitte & Touche as a Tax Manager, where she worked in corporate tax in a variety of sectors before transferring to the Real Estate, Travel and Tourism department. Grace then became the Group Tax Manager at Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) where Grace was responsible for managing the tax affairs of the Group’s Emerging Markets operations with expertise in international and M&A tax and transfer pricing. She most recently has worked for ten years at Legal & General Group (L&G) where she has been the Chief Taxation Officer since 2015. Grace holds a BA in Economics with Econometrics from the University of Kent at Canterbury and is ACA and CTA qualified with first time passes in each.
Her focus will be as Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee who will assist the Board in discharging its duties regarding the financial statements, accounting policies and the maintenance of proper internal business, and operational and financial controls.
GRACE ELANOR STEVENS
Independent Non-Executive Director
DAVID CONNAL CATHER
David joined the Company in September 2021 as a Non-Executive Director.
David was formerly CEO (Mining) of Abu Dhabi Capital Group, a private family office based in UAE and immediately prior to that was CEO of Avocet Mining plc, a LSE and Oslo listed gold production company with a 95,000oz per annum operating mine in Burkina Faso and an advanced development project in Guinea. David’s previous roles include Chief Operating Officer of European Goldfields and being a member of a London based fund management team and various positions with Anglo American plc. He has participated in numerous acquisitions and IPOs of mining companies on various stock exchanges and has significant expertise in mine development.
He is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Metals Exploration PLC, an Independent Director of JSC AK Altynalmas, a Kazakhstan listed emerging mid-tier gold producer and of Galantas Gold Corporation, a dual listed (AIM:TSX.V) Northern Irish underground gold developer.
PROJECTS & TECHNICAL TEAM
James holds a MSc from the Camborne School of Mines in Mining Geology and has worked as both a production and exploration geologist in the UK, Ireland and Australia, and as a principal mining consultant across a range of commodities globally. He was formerly Mining Technical Services Manager at Hemerdon under Wolf Minerals.
Technical & Operations Director
Jon, BSc ARSM FIMMM, has over 40 years' experience in senior management roles covering all aspects of project and mining activities. His expertise lie in geological studies, operations management, beneficiation test work and process design, pilot plant programs, plant technical and engineering work, EPCM contracts and project management. Since 2012, Jon has been a senior consultant of Behre-Dolbear.
Colin holds a BSc. Estates Management. BSc. Construction Management and LLB, specialising in construction law. He carries over 35 years of major project and consultancy experience in Mining, Hydro Electric and Oil sector construction. Having previously held positions as Contract and Construction Director Russia, Director for Oil & Gas Africa and Project Director Africa. He has worked with World Bank funding, as well as private sector investment projects.
Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Audit and Risk Management Committee comprises Grace Stevens, who will act as chair, David Cather and Francis Johnstone.
The Remuneration Committee comprises David Cather, who will act as chair, Robert Ashley and Richard Maxey.
The Technical Committee comprises David Cather, who will act as chair, Mark Thompson and Max Denning.