Christine Bertoli is the Chief Mine Engineer of Nickel Rim South Mine for Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, A Glencore Company (Glencore Sudbury INO). She graduated from Laurentian University with a Mining Engineering degree. She has held many various positions with the company over the past 14 years, including planning and scheduling, projects and front line supervision underground. In 2012, Bertoli was selected by the company to participate in Women’s Executive Network™ mentoring program, Canada’s most influential female audience and the country’s leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of executive-minded women in the workplace. She has been part of CIM Sudbury Branch executive since 2005, holding the positions of Education Chair, Vice Chair, and Chair. Most recently, she is the new Sponsorship Chair for the organization. She originally got involved with CIM by joining the Mining Engineering/Mining Operations (ME/MO) 2005 organizing committee. She currently lives in Sudbury, Ontario, with her husband Wade and their two young sons, Evan and Rylan.
Eugene leads the corporate development team that assesses the suitability of assets and partnerships to support Hudbay’s growth strategy, as either potential acquisitions or strategic partnerships, or as prospects for an investment position. He is a crucial liaison between public markets, investment banks, peer and junior mining companies and Hudbay’s senior management. In 2014, he led Hudbay’s successful acquisition of Augusta Resource Corporation. Lei joined Hudbay in 2012, after 11 years as an investment banker. Prior to joining Hudbay, he was Managing Director, Mining at Macquarie Capital Markets Canada, working as an advisor on global and domestic mergers & acquisitions and equity capital markets offerings. He holds a Bachelors of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University.
Hélène Timpano is VP, Business Optimization at Kinross Gold Corporation. She is responsible for continuous improvement, project value assurance (project optimization through a business lens), and strategic planning. She transitioned to mining after starting her career in management consulting at Bain & Company, where she focused on operational improvement. Timpano is passionate about applying this experience to the mining industry. Her team collaborates closely with site teams on productivity improvement and cost control initiatives. She has also applied the performance improvement lens to strategic planning at Kinross, where the LOM plans have become the platform for setting company operational strategy. She holds her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University as well as a Bachelor of Engineering and Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Western University. She is happy to be back in Canada after living and working internationally for 6 years. She enjoys travelling, both for work and for pleasure.
An employee of Raglan Mine since 2010, Jean‐François Verret was appointed Director, Capital Projects and Exploration in early 2015. He has several years of diversified experience in mining and geological engineering as well as business strategy. He holds a Bachelor of Geological and Mining Engineering degree from Polytechnique de Montréal and earned Six Sigma certification in 2009. He was selected to participate in the Talent Management Program at Xstrata Nickel in 2011 and Xstrata plc (London) in 2012. Verret began his professional career with Golder Associates, accomplishing several duties in Canada and overseas, including Guinea (West Africa). In 2006, he joined Arcelor Mittal at Mont‐Wright Mining Complex. In 2008, he moved to Australia, where he worked with Rio Tinto Iron Ore. After two years, he returned to Québec and joined the Raglan Mine team. In September 2011, he was appointed Superintendent, Strategy and Communications Department, and, in November 2012 he became Director, Strategy, Projects and Public Affairs. He held this position until his recent appointment as Director, Capital Projects and Exploration. Since 2013, Verret has been a member of the board of directors of Minalliance and Association minière du Québec. Furthermore, he has recently been appointed Vice President of the board of directors of Association minière du Québec. As of 2014, he is the spokesperson for the Coalition Plein Gaz au Nord.
David Bernier is responsible for all aspects of Dumas Contracting operations in Central and Western Canada, including projects in the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. A seasoned mining professional, Bernier has more than 19 years of experience, gained working in a balanced mix of mine engineering, operations and management positions at three of the largest mining camps in Ontario. He has a strong passion for Health, Safety & the Environment, and Emergency Response, and is a member of the Dumas Mine Rescue Team. Prior to joining Dumas, Bernier held various positions with Goldcorp, Xstrata, KGHM International, and Rubicon Minerals. Born and raised in Timmins, he is a graduate of Northern College, Survey Engineering Technology program. He returned to Timmins in 2011 with his wife Angie, son William and daughter Fiona.
Steven Bowles is a business professional in the Mining & Metals industry, with experience in business development, project management and operations management. He is currently the manager of mining operations at Glencore's Raglan Nickel Mine and was previously project director for the $530M capital investment program at Glencore Raglan which included the development of underground mining and concentrator plant expansion projects. Previously he worked as project manager for the $1.2B Cobre Panama concentrator project and led field execution teams in the Middle East on the $5.7B Emirates Aluminium and $4.5B Qatalum Aluminium Smelter projects. Bowles holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and B.Sc. Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Mark Sitter is the director of corporate affairs and sustainability for Sherritt International Corporation. Since joining Sherritt in early 2007, he has held five different roles in communications, government relations and corporate responsibility – all of which have been newly created positions. Before taking on his current role, Sitter was the Deputy Director, External Relations, for Sherritt’s Ambatovy nickel operation in Madagascar, where he had to build and manage a department in a start-up setting. Prior to Sherritt, he had worked in public affairs and stakeholder relations for private, governmental and non-governmental organizations in Canada, Central America and Southern Africa. Sitter speaks English, French and Spanish, and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Originally from Winnipeg, he currently resides with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Peter Xavier is director of Nickel Rim South Mine for Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, A Glencore Company. A graduate of Laurentian University’s Mining Engineering program, Xavier’s previous key positions were manager of Thayer Lindsley Mine and Strathcona Mill.
Xavier is a director of the CIM – Sudbury Chapter since 2008. He is an alumnus of CCELD (2011) and CSCLeaders (2014) which are leadership programs based on The Duke of Edinburgh’s Study Conferences. He joined leaders from various sectors to take part in this strategic initiative aimed at tackling challenges that businesses, governments and society face today. Peter is part of the steering committee for CCELD (2015).
Xavier lives in Sudbury, ON with his wife Paula of 9 years and their 6 six year old son Alexander.
By Krystyna Lagowski
Steven Assen, director of human resources, training and development with Sherritt International, already knew he wanted to focus on the mining industry
when he was a business student at the University of Alberta. When an opportunity at Sherritt International Corporation came up, he made the leap and has
not looked back.
“I’m a hands-on worker,” he says. “There are lots of challenges, and when I make a commitment, I stick to it until the job’s done. That’s the way I like to
work.” Assen confesses that he is both humbled and honoured by receiving a CIM Bedford Young Leaders award.
Assen inherited his work ethic from his parents. “My father was a journeyman pipesetter and worked in the oilsands and mining all over Alberta,” he says.
“My mom went back to school, got a degree and then a job. It was expected that my sister and myself would follow in their path.”
A driven professional who gets results, Assen says his parents were influential in instilling perseverance. “That attitude of getting it done and sticking
to things, working through adversity, that’s inherent in our family,” he says.
For Assen, it is an exciting time to be in the mining industry. “One of the biggest issues facing us is attracting and retaining good talent,” he says. “We
see it a lot in Alberta, but I know it has global proportions.”
According to Assen, the industry must pull together to promote careers in mining to the next generation. “It’s a great industry,” he says. “There are many
benefits to working in mining, but not everyone knows about them. We need to get the message out and to provide a better understanding of what mining is
all about, especially to young people who are crucial to its future.”
At Sherritt, Assen feels he has been given many opportunities to make a difference.
He has worked both at Sherritt’s corporate offices and onsite, and has taken on a variety of roles, including work in industrial relations, change
leadership coordination and human resources. “Whatever you’re willing and able to do, they’ll give you the opportunity to do,” Assen says.
He believes the key is to communicate effectively that young people can influence and have a positive impact within a mining company, which is part of an
internationally significant business sector.
It is especially important to let people know that Canada’s mining companies are major players on the world stage. “People underestimate the impact that
mining has on the global economy,” he says. “The word has to get out there.”
Steven Assen is the director of human resources, training and development at Sherritt International Corporation. He is currently responsible for the
direction and management of the human resources and training and development functions, which provide support to Sherritt’s metals and technologies
divisions. He works to foster labour relations between company management and the site's union, leading negotiations for new collective agreements.
Assen is a business graduate from the University of Alberta. He has thirteen years of experience in the mining industry. After receiving his degree, Assen
secured employment with Sherritt’s coal division, working both in the corporate offices and at the Highvale Mine. During his tenure with the coal division,
he held positions in industrial relations and change leadership coordination. In 2005, Assen joined the metals division as a human resources advisor, later
advancing to manager, human resources, and then onto his current director role.
In addition to ensuring a positive labour relations climate, Assen has been instrumental in creating and refining a workforce planning strategy, as well as
in developing leadership conferences to communicate the strategic vision and direction of the organization. Also, he has taken a lead role in employee
engagement and has developed several initiatives to attract and retain key talent. He strives for continuous improvement, and is a results-oriented
Assen’s favourite job takes place after work hours, when he comes home to fulfill his responsibilities as a loving husband and a father of four young
For Sean McCaughan, senior vice president, coal at Sherritt International, the mining industry is the place to be. He is fascinated by the impact coal
mining has on the economy and by the technical challenges miners surmount to extract and process the commodity, and is inspired by the vigour of his
coworkers and superiors.
He values the role that a commodity like coal plays in the world market. “It’s a capital intensive, physical industry that finds the most efficient, safe
method of extracting commodities like coal from the land,” says McCaughan. “You also have to understand supply and demand forces in the commodity cycle,
and how that drives industry. There’s a macroeconomic aspect that means you’re really in touch with the industrial developments in the world.”
Another side of him appreciates the physical nature of producing the product. “It’s something that is in demand, it’s needed,” McCaughan says. “When you
can sustainably work with ore bodies and use a variety of equipment and processes to turn it into a finished product – that’s pretty interesting.”
He is proud to work in the Canadian coal industry, and believes the sector has much to offer. “Coal mining is very big in western Canada, we employ a lot
of people, and it may be the safest in the sector,” McCaughan says. “We’ve done some comparisons of our safety numbers, and we compare extremely well –
we’ve also been fortunate to be acknowledged by the CIM through numerous safety awards over the years.”
In western Canada, the coal mines are open-pit operations, so they are exceptionally safe places to work. “There might be some best practices here that
could be applied in other areas of the industry,” McCaughan observes.
Although he admits to being a perfectionist, he insists it is only because he wants to do the best possible job. “It’s the way I was raised,” McCaughan
explains. “We learned the value of good work at an early age.” He also says he has learned a lot from his supervisors over the years and looks up to the
people at Sherritt.
One of his goals is to do more volunteer work, his participation in which has ebbed and flowed as he has been occupied with a growing family. “As a
company, we do many things in the communities where we operate,” McCaughan says. “Our mines are generally in rural areas, where we are one of the larger
employers.” The team at each mine gives back to the community in different ways, whether with donations to parks, local hockey or baseball teams, or by
Currently, McCaughan is involved in a company running team for the Kananaskis 100, a fundraising relay race for Hostelling International, which is held
annually in southern Alberta. “I’ve really been enjoying it, and supporting fundraising opportunities is one way our employees can be involved in our
communities,” he says.
McCaughan is honoured to be the recipient of a CIM Bedford Canadian Young Mining Leaders award, but is quick to acknowledge the work of his team. “Success
depends on your whole team,” he says. “It means something to me, but it also means something for my company and my division, for everyone with whom I do
business every day.”
Sean McCaughan was appointed senior vice president, coal for Sherritt International Corporation in February 2012. McCaughan is responsible for leading
Sherritt’s coal business consisting of approximately 1,600 employees across eight surface coal mines in Western Canada. He has held several positions with
Sherritt including most recently serving as the managing director, business development and marketing, coal and director, commercial & projects, coal.
McCaughan is the vice chairman of the Coal Association of Canada, serves as a member of the board of directors for the Lignite Energy Council, and is a
former director of the Canadian Clean Power Coalition. He is also a member of CIM and represents Sherritt on the International Energy Agency Coal Advisory
McCaughan holds an honours bachelor of business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Adam Tonnos has 10 years of business management, international business development and team leadership experience. He is a graduate of Queen’s University’s Engineering Physics program and has continued his professional development with formal training in logistics management, continuous improvement, team leadership, business, and sales. He is a driver of personal accountability and connects his clients with their passion in order to generate long term sustainable results.
He has used his skills to develop sales processes and systems that have helped an organization move from having no sales expertise to having well established sales channels generating revenue in North and South America. Adam has created a sense of purpose within the organizations where he has worked, helping them to grow both in types of services and products being offered and in the geographies and industries they serve.
Benjamin Gelber is Exploration Manager and Acting Operations Manager for Keegan Resources Inc. He is currently responsible for overseeing all site activities, planning and carrying out all exploration activities, and implementing all development activities on Keegan’s flagship Esaase Gold Project located in Ghana.
Benjamin attended the University of British Columbia and graduated in 2002 with an honours B.Sc. in geological science. Following completion, Benjamin worked in the field of Hydrogeology for two years for Stantec and Piteau Associates Ltd. As commodity prices began to recover, he switched into mineral exploration, his primary field of study. Benjamin spent three and a half years with Archer, Cathro and Associates (1981) Ltd. where he managed exploration programs in the northern Yukon Territory.
Benjamin joined Keegan in January 2008 and since then has overseen the project grow progress from exploration into development, and the resource increase from 1.2 M to 5.2M ounces of gold. As well as overseeing the exploration and development activities for the project, Benjamin has fostered complex relationships with communities and security agencies within Ghana.
Heather White joined NovaGold Resources as Director, Mining, in April 2011 and was promoted to Vice President, Mining, in December 2011. Prior to joining NovaGold, Heather held the role of Director Marketing, Supply Chain at Vale Canada Limited in Toronto where she was responsible for planning and managing the worldwide nickel supply chain for Vale Canada Limited, including alignment of production of all products at all finished nickel smelting and refining facilities with market demand.
Previously, she was Mine Manager at Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Ltd. in Labrador. She also worked as a senior mine engineering roles for PT Inco in Indonesia at their open pit laterite operation as well as for Inco in Sudbury at their underground mining operation. She holds a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from Queen's University.
Sean Samson joined First Nickel in December 2011 as Vice-President of Corporate Development and also serves as the interim Vice President Operations and is responsible for the safety of more than 200 workers at the Lockerby Depth underground mining mine near Sudbury.
From 2006 to 2011, Sean worked at Kinross Gold, where he was Vice-President of Commercial Development. During this time he had diverse, multi-functional responsibilities, ranging from supply chain, energy, continuous improvement, merger integration, to enterprise risk and capital approvals. He led a team of more than 300 persons, across eight countries.
Previously, from 2004 to 2006, Sean worked for Centrica/ Direct Energy as Director of Strategy and M&A. Prior to joining Centrica, he worked at Bain as a consultant and also traded at investment banks in New York and Istanbul. He helped lead a federal election campaign and received a B.A. from Harvard University, spent a year at the London School of Economics and received an MBA from Cambridge University.
Chad Hiley is the vice-president of human resources at Barrick Gold Corporation. He is responsible for developing and implementing the company's human capital strategy in service of its 20,000 employees.
During his tenure at Barrick, he has held progressive roles in both the organization effectiveness and human resources divisions, including assignments as an integration leader for Barrick acquisitions and as a member of a team that established a new international business unit.
As the human resources leader, Chad significantly improved Barrick’s capabilities in the areas of talent management, learning and development, recruiting, and rewards. In addition to his efforts at Barrick, he has partnered with a number of the company’s colleagues to start up Caneducate. This charity delivers scholarships to needy children in Africa, leveraging Barrick’s network and infrastructure.
David Anonychuk has held a variety of operational and commercial roles throughout his 16-year career in the copper and gold mining industry. He began as a mill metallurgist at Ontario’s Golden Giant Mine, progressing to the roles of chief metallurgist at Golden Giant and senior metallurgist at Holloway Mine with Newmont Canada. In 2002, he joined Noranda’s Canadian Copper & Recycle group in Toronto, leading to the position of director of strategic planning.
In 2006, following Xstrata’s acquisition of Falconbridge (formerly Noranda), David took responsibility for North American copper cathode sales. In 2008, he relocated to Dubai, UAE, for his current role as the leader of marketing and sales of Xstrata Copper’s global production of copper cathode (Australia, Canada, Chile and Peru) representing 3.5 per cent of world copper supply.
Currently, David is president of the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association (CCBDA) and a committee member on the U.S. Copper Development Association (CDA), industry associations that promote copper usage, including antimicrobial copper touch surfaces – a new and revolutionary use for copper. He holds a metallurgical engineering degree from McGill University and an MBA from Queen’s University.
Mark Eichorn leads the process team in the Hatch Autoclave Technology Group. He is currently their process lead for the Kinross Fruta del Norte project feasibility study, a refractory gold deposit in Ecuador utilizing pressure oxidation technology.
Mark graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in chemical engineering in 1995. Starting with Hatch’s non-Ferrous process group, he contributed to QIT’s upgraded slag (UGS) project from basic engineering to startup.
After completing an MBA at the Rotman School of Management in 2002, Mark and his family relocated to Brisbane, Australia. There, he contributed to BHPB’s Yabulu Extension project feasibility study and, in 2004, moved to Townsville for site engineering at the Queensland Nickel Yabulu Refinery.
In 2006, Mark relocated to Perth where he helped lead commissioning of Ravensthorpe Nickel’s Pressure Acid Leach plant. Returning to Canada in 2008, Mark’s focus has been on the development of autoclave technology, process team resources and delivery of autoclave projects across metals industries.
As executive director of the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), Ryan Montpellier oversees the national sector council for the minerals and metals industry.
As the former director of operations for MiHR, he was recognized in 2006 as a Distinguished Lecturer by CIM. The Institute cited both his leadership in the research and analysis of human resources issues, and his contribution to MiHR's development and promotion of proactive human resources, recruiting, and retention principles within the Canadian mining industry.
In 2007, Ryan was recognized by the International Association of Business Communicators with a Gold Quill Award for his contributions in raising awareness for the human resources challenges facing the Canadian mining sector.
Ryan graduated with an MBA from the Edinburgh Business School and a bachelor's degree in commerce from the University of Ottawa. A certified project management professional, he has completed several professional development programs from Queen's University, the University of Toronto and the University of Quebec.
Copyright 2011 - Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. All Rights Reserved