2020 Speakers

Alex Bevacqua, Global Head of Metals & Mining Consulting, Wood Mackenzie

Alex leads Wood Mackenzie’s global Metals and Mining Consulting Practice, advising both governments and companies. He has devised and implemented performance management strategies that have delivered operational improvements in mines across the globe. Alex has more than 25 years of management consulting experience, gained primarily in business strategy development and performance improvement. He draws on detailed knowledge of numerous mining-related projects throughout the world.

Recently, Alex worked directly with the President of a leading South American nation to develop an economic diversification strategy to revive the country’s mining sector and deliver economic growth. As a trusted advisor to the President, he led the implementation of a detailed monetisation strategy which is delivering sustainable growth. Alex has worked across a broad spectrum of projects – from advising different African nations on how to optimise their mining wealth and diversify their economies, to creating operational excellence programmes for private companies in the US, Europe and South East Asia.

Before joining Wood Mackenzie seven years ago, Alex held in senior management roles at Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Jamieson Group. In these roles, he focused primarily on business strategy development and implementation, as well as performance improvement.


Robert Cowley, Group Chief Executive Officer, Namakwa Diamonds

Robert joined Namakwa Diamonds in August 2013. He is a Chartered Accountant and has 18 years of experience in the mining industry. He was previously with Harmony Gold for seven years, holding various management portfolios. Robert was a business consultant to the mining industry for seven years. Prior to his appointment as Group Chief Executive Officer, Robert headed up the finance and risk functions of Namakwa Diamonds as Chief Financial Officer and has integral experience of all aspects of the operations.


Morne du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer, Minergy

Morne du Plessis is a chartered accountant with an MBA from Heriott Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has extensive experience in the mining industry having been Chief Financial Officer of several groups, including contract mining and beneficiation service provider Genet SA, junior coal miner Umcebo Mining Group and Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed junior coal miner Wescoal Holdings. Morne was appointed to the Board of Directors of Minergy in January 2017 and as its Chief Financial Officer in February 2017. On 1 August 2018 Morne became Chief Executive Officer of Minergy, a coal mining and trading company committed to becoming the supplier of choice to industrial customers and power utilities across southern Africa, with a mission to leverage the significant product and logistics cost advantage over other producers supplying the target market to secure short and longer-term coal sales.


Alistair Hodgkinson, Senior Vice President, Africa, DRA

Alistair Hodgkinson is the Senior Vice President for the African region. Prior to joining DRA in 2007, Alistair was a Project Manager for Impala Platinum. Alistair has over 21 years’ industry experience and extensive knowledge of operational, project and contracts management, mining and process design, procurement and construction as well as the business and financial aspects of the industry. Alistair completed his B.Sc. Eng (Mechanical) at the University of the Witwatersrand, holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town and is a registered professional engineer. In his current role, Alistair oversees the successful implementation and delivery of projects from team set-up to client handover on all projects in the African region. Within Alistair’s portfolio is the management of DRA’s business development; ensuring DRA’s future growth and sustainability in various sectors and markets.


Dr Roger Key, Head of Exploration, Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Company

Roger Key gained his BSc (Hons.) and PhD from the University of Liverpool in the period 1965 to 1972. Over the following 40 years he worked as a mapping geologist and research scientist throughout Africa producing over 300 peer-reviewed publications including numerous geological maps. Important parts of this work included the training of young African geologists, many of whom later became Directors of their national Geological Surveys, professors in local universities and leading professionals in mineral exploration companies. Between 2012 and 2016 he was an independent geological consultant for exploration companies throughout Africa on coal, gold and hydrocarbon projects as well as on regional geological mapping projects. Since 2016 he has been in charge of exploration at Kalahari Key Mineral Exploration Company (Pty) Ltd along the ENE-WSW Jwaneng-Makopong Shear/Feeder Zone through the Molopo Farms Complex in southern Botswana.


Mosa Mabuza, Chief Executive Officer, Council for Geoscience

Mosa Mabuza qualified as geologist with a BSc (Hons) and with a PDA in Business. He has extensive exploration experience in multiple regional jurisdictions that span SADC, West Africa and Canada, amongst others. He assumed his official duties in 2006 as Director of Mineral Economics in the erstwhile Department of Minerals and Energy and later became Deputy Director-General of the Mineral Policy (and Investment Promotion) in 2012. During his tenure as an official, he was assigned with the duties of leading the preliminary strategy for sustainable development and meaningful transformation of South Africa’s mining industry with emphasis on competitive growth and transformation as symbolistic reinforcing concepts, the development of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill and the assessment of the progress impact on the implementation of the Mining Charter in 2009 and 2015, which respectively based the evidence value proposition for the amendments of the 2010 and 2017 Mining Charter. Mr Mabuza represented the Department of Mineral Resources on the boards of number of science councils and State-Owned Entities, including, albeit not limited to, the Council for Geoscience, Mintek and the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator. In November 2016, Mr Mabuza was deployed to the Council for Geoscience and now serves as CEO (since July 2017). He is currently working with his colleagues to champion the refocused geo-scientific programme that seeks to optimise the development impact, aligned with the national developmental priorities.


Peter Major, Director: Mining, Mergence Corporate Solutions

Peter Major was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on 16 May 1955. His family moved to Kellogg, Idaho, the 'silver mining capital of the world' in 1961, where Peter grew up and worked through 1981. Peter graduated from Montana School of Mines in 1981 and came to South Africa in Jan 1982 to work for Harmony Gold Mine. He completed his South African Mine Manager's Certificate, an MBA from UCT and thereafter worked as a consultant and as Marketing & Training Manager for Eimco Mining Machinery SA. Peter began his investment career with Allan Gray in 1989 as a gold mine analyst. He then spent 10 years as mining analyst & fund manager at Nedcor Investment Bank where he won 2 Raging Bull Awards, 1 ‘runner up, and was South Africa’s Top Fund Manager 2 other years. In 2001 as CIO he set up HBD Asset Management with Mark Shuttleworth, with assets of $530m growing to $1.5bn by 2005. In 2006 Peter joined Cadiz where he is Director: Mining, focusing on Private Equity, Capital Raising and M & A activity in the Mining & Resources sector.


Fortune Mojapelo, Chief Executive Officer, Bushveld Minerals

Fortune is a mining entrepreneur with a strong exploration and development track record, Fortune has played a leading role in the origination, establishment and project development of several junior mining companies in Africa including New Kush Exploration and Mining (Gold in South Sudan), AfriTin Mining (Tin), Bushveld Resources Limited (Iron Ore), New Horizon Minerals (Iron Ore), Bushveld Platinum Limited (PGMs) and Eagle Resources Limited (Uranium). As Chief Executive Officer of Bushveld Minerals since its inception, he also serves as a Non-Executive Director of ASX-listed Lemur Resources Limited.


Simone Naicker, Chemical Engineer, Process Development, Exxaro Resources

Simone Naicker is a process engineer, a woman and a millennial – but above all she is an authentic and simple human who has a story to tell. Her journey in the industry began with a BEng Chemical Engineering Degree from the University of Pretoria. In her current role she is an Engineer in Training, in the coal processing industry, working for Exxaro Resources. During the 2 years Simone has spent in the industry she has acted in several leadership roles including Plant Foreman, Lead Value Chain Integrator and Senior Metallurgist during the commissioning phase of the Greenfields Belfast Coal Implementation Project. Simone says that she sees value in perspective and through engaging the industry from a variety of roles she believes that she will empower herself during this training period to further grow and contribute. 

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Lili Nupen, Director, Nupen Staude de Vries

Lili Nupen is a director of Nupen Staude de Vries Incorporated, a boutique law firm specialising in Construction, Mining and Environmental Law. She is well versed in all aspects of the legal mining arena and has created invaluable relationships with its regulators, including the Department of Mineral Resources, the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Water and Sanitation. Lili has assisted with the analysis of the 2018 Mining Charter and the effect which it has on mining operations in South Africa, has been involved in transactions involving both local and international mining companies, and has advised on cross-border regulatory requirements. Lili has extensive experience specialising in mining and environmental regulatory law practice and is vested in helping create a thriving junior mining sector.


Mashale Phumaphi, Managing Director, Shumba Energy

Mashale is the Managing Director of Shumba Energy and an executive focused on funding and developing energy projects in Africa. He has over 16 years’ experience in the mining and energy sector, conducting investment analyses and research and he has raised debt and equity finance for several projects in America, Europe and Africa. Mashale started his career as an Engineer with Debswana Diamond Company based at Jwaneng Mine in Botswana. He holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Sheffield and is a member of the United Kingdom Society of Investment Professionals (UKSIP) and the London-based Association of Mining Analysts (AMA).

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Charles Siwawa, Chief Executive Officer, Botswana Chamber of Mines

Charles Siwawa is currently employed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Chamber of Mines based in Gaborone, a position he has occupied since 2010. The Botswana Chamber of Mines exists to serve the interests of the mining industry in the country and to influence policy decisions and strategic intents within the government, non-governmental organizations and related bodies. Charles has an extensive background in the mining industry in Botswana dating back to 1982.


Errol Smart, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Orion Minerals

Errol is a geologist, registered with the South African Council of Natural Scientific Professionals. He has more than 25 years of industry experience across all aspects of exploration, mine development and operations with experience in precious and base metals. Errol has held positions in Anglogold, Cluff Mining, Metallon Gold, Clarity Minerals, LionGold Corporation and African Stellar Holdings.  His senior executive roles have been on several boards of companies listed on the TSX, ASX and JSE.


Bernard Swanepoel

Bernard is the Chairman of the annual Junior Indaba and Joburg Indaba as well as an Executive Director of the SBI. He is a Partner at To-The-Point Growth Specialists as well as a Partner in THINKspiration. He served as Non-Executive Director on the boards of Impala, Zimplats, Eqstra and African Rainbow Minerals Limited. Previous roles include Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Village Main Reef Limited and CEO of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited. He is Chairman and Managing Partner of MMC (Manganese Metal Company) as well as a non-executive director of African Rainbow Energy Producer (AREP).


Dr John Ward, Mineral Resources Manager, Namakwa Diamonds

John holds a Doctorate in Geology (PhD from now UKZN) and has worked in c. 26 countries, 20 of which were in Africa, mainly on alluvial and kimberlite diamond projects ranging from greenfields exploration through to large-scale production operations. Apart from consulting, John has also worked for a major and two junior diamond companies and has received two medals for his contribution to academic and economic geology in southern Africa. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa, a Life Member of SASQUA and the Geological Society of Namibia and a SAMREC Competent Person in primary and secondary diamond deposits.


William (Bill) Witham, Chief Executive Officer, Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group

William (Bill) Witham has broad experience over a 30-year career working in the technical, commercial, marketing and financial fields of the international exploration and mining industry. Bill spent two years in the 1990s based in Africa as General Manager for World Geoscience Corporation. This gave him a broad perspective over many African countries where their geophysical surveys were conducted. Since then Mr Witham has worked for a number of international and Australian companies in Africa and Australia including DMC Mining (Congo), Waratah Resources (Congo) and Whinnen Resources Ltd (Cameroon and Namibia). Bill holds a Bachelor in Science with Honours in Geology from the University of Western Australia and is the CEO of the Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group (AAMEG).