Imerys British Lithium Team
Andrew Smith BEng (Hons) (Aero Mech), BCom (Fin), CEO
Chief Executive Officer
Andrew is an engineer who has worked in the mining industry for 14 years and has led four successful feasibility studies. He was awarded first class honours for his thesis on energy consumed in mining and proposed novel autonomous electric mining equipment, elements of which have recently been adapted by major equipment manufacturers.
Most recently, Andrew was project manager for the Cinovec Lithium Project (Czech) process development and in 2017 completed a Prefeasibility Study for the production of lithium, tin and potash. Andrew specialises in the specification, supervision and interpretation of metallurgical test work, development of extractive metallurgy and process design and was instrumental in developing the unique low-cost lithium flow sheet for Cinovec.
Andrew previously ran a large international technical team for Cominco’s Definitive Feasibility Study on the $600m phosphate mine in Republic of Congo. He supervised test work development, process design and pilot production at Mintek Laboratory in South Africa and worked closely with government, local communities and environmental teams to complete an Environmental, Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to World Bank performance standards. Andrew has led metallurgical research into the sustainable economic extraction of lithium from the unique Cornish micas, resulting in two patent applications.
Roderick Smith BCom, CA, F Fin, FRGS
Director and Senior Board Advisor
A chartered accountant with a strong interest and extensive experience in extractive metallurgy and mine development, Roderick holds a post-grad diploma in Mining Investment Analysis, is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Institute. For more than 25 years, he was CEO of publicly listed Australian mining companies, responsible for the discovery, financing, development and operation of five mines. A member of local government for nine years, including two as president, he was awarded an Australian Centennial Medal for services to the community in 2001.
Roderick is an acknowledged world expert in specialty metals’ production, supply and demand and has written many papers and spoken on the topic at numerous international conferences over the last 20 years. He was a founding director and owner of the Cinovec lithium project and managing director of Cominco Resources Limited for 9 years.
A member of the British Standards Institute lithium committee, Roderick represents the UK on the International ISO Lithium 333 committee which is charged with developing standards in the field of lithium mining, concentration, extraction, separation and conversion to useful lithium compounds/materials, including lithium-ion battery materials.
Non Executive Director
Peter’s long and distinguished career on the world stage has included regular meetings with national and international heads of state.
Formerly Chief Executive of TUI Travel PLC, he played a leading role in creating TUI Group – the largest integrated leisure tourism business in the world with 64,000 staff and 30 million customers.
Peter’s previous non-executive chairman and non-executive director roles include Rentokil Initial, RAC, Royal Mail and Countrywide. A firm advocate of supporting companies with clear growth potential, he has also been president of the Family Holiday Association charity since 2013.
Having established Newquay-based and family-run Legacy Properties in 2008, Peter is an active member of the Cornish business community.
Implementation & Stakeholder Engagement
Andy has significant experience in financial management and cost accounting. He worked in the manufacturing industry for 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about payroll, forecasting, budgets, financial analysis, financial management and reporting, project costing, performance indicators to help drive efficiencies and cost savings.
Lee has over 20 years’ experience in compliance management working previously in the food & beverages and medical devices industry. Starting on the shopfloor at West Pharmaceutical Services, he was promoted to the Process Improvement Department, validating machinery, processes, and improving process efficiencies / cost savings.
Lee then moved onto the Plastics Division of West Pharmaceutical Services as a Shift Manager, prior to the sale of the business unit to a German Company and renamed Polymermedics. Lee was then promoted to Quality Manager and was part of the Team that helped gain 9:001 and 13:485 ISO Standards. As Compliance Manager at Sharps Brewery, Lee rewrote and developed the Quality Management System to ensure compliance to the FEMAS Standard and Molson Coors internal quality standards, based on BRC requirements.
Geology & Mining
Hanno Buys, MEng PrEng MIMMM
Head of Mining
Hanno is a mining engineer with over 15 years of experience in open-pit mining. His most recent role was as a Principal Consultant at SRK Consulting in the United Kingdom. In his latest engagements, Hanno has overseen significant mine development projects in the Nordic region, which included serving as a Competent Person for various open pit mines, ensuring that reserve statements align with industry standards and placing a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation to foster responsible mining practices. Hanno’s hands-on technical experience includes pit optimisation, mine design, production scheduling and equipment cost estimation. His leadership extended to Eastern Siberia, where he spearheaded the expansion of a substantial open-pit gold mine project.
Hanno holds a professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa and is a professional member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He has earned a Master’s degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Pretoria, South-Africa.
Joshua Catton BSc (Geol), MSc (Geol)
Junior Exploration Geologist
Joshua has a BSc from Keele Uni and recently recently graduated from the Camborne School of Mines with an MSc. As part of his dissertation, he completed an internship with Imerys where he gained experience in characterising clay types within the Hemerdon china clay pit, correlating kaolin grades with granite type and structural controls.
He enjoys hiking and camping across the terrain of the South-West of England.
George Willment MSc (EarthSci)
Junior Exploration Geologist
George worked on the Deep Digital Cornwall Project identifying locations suitable for downhole survey to inform the sub-surface heat flow map across the South-West of England. This involved stakeholder engagement with exploration companies, consultants, councils, and the British Geological Society to collate bore hole and mine shaft data, followed with prioritisation of targets based on age, purpose, inclination, and ground accessibility.
He has a keen interest in flying and is active with the RAF Air Cadet squadron.
Alex Marshall BSc (Geol), MSc (Geol)
Alex has a BSc from Cardiff Uni and and MSc in Mining Geology from Camborne School of Mines. He has worked on exploration projects in Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the UK on orogenic gold and VMS deposits, and as an open pit mine geologist exploiting a magnetite skarn deposit. He has experience with RC and DD rig management and logging, core yard management, QAQC review and geological interpretations. He is experienced in soil sampling and field mapping, as well as in-pit face mapping and inspections.
Alex is a keen prospector and collector of mineral specimens.
Research & Innovation
Ben Cordier BSc MSc CEng MIMMM
Head of Process Research
Ben is a chartered engineer with over 15 years experience in process design, scale up and operations across mine sites and chemical plants globally. He was most recently Process Scale-Up Manager for Johnson Matthey’s Battery Materials business, overseeing the technical development and engineering design of nickel and cobalt purification processes for battery grade chemicals. Previously Ben has led process development and pilot operations for Rio Tinto’s Jadar boron-lithium project Pre Feasibility Study, as well as fixed plant operations in Australia and the USA. Ben completed his BSc. in Chemistry at the University of Bath, followed by an MSc in Minerals Engineering at Camborne School of Mines.
Dr Kateryna Omelchuk BSc, MSc, PhD (Chem)
Manager of Hydrometallurgy
Kateryna earned a doctorate from Chimie Paristech in Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Masters degrees in Chemistry from the University of Montpellier, and in organic chemistry, functional materials and nanoscience from the University of Maine. She has 7 years experience in the development of eco-friendly hydrometallurgical processes for extraction of lithium and other battery metals, solvent extraction and production of battery-grade lithium carbonate. She has been responsible for three successful piloting operations. Kateryna was previously responsible for development of an hydrometallurgical process for Li-battery recycling at prestigious French company Eramet.
Patrick Hegarty BSc, ACSM, MIMM
Manager of Metallurgy
Patrick is a graduate of the Camborne School of Mines with over 20 years’ international experience in mineral processing operations, consultancy and research covering a diverse portfolio of minerals, ore deposits and processing technologies, with expertise in physical separation methods.
Prior to joining British Lithium Patrick was acting Chief Metallurgist at Otso Gold Oy in Finland. He has previously been responsible for developing process flowsheets and the design and operation of pilot-scale processing plants for base metals, gold, industrial minerals, and gemstones. He has co-authored and contributed to several research publications and given conference presentations in mineral processing, process mineralogy and materials science.
Patrick is responsible for managing the beneficiation pilot plant and sample preparation facility at British Lithium.
Jonathan Kneale (BSc Renewable Energy, ACSM)
Pilot Plant Operations Lead
Jonathan brings extensive experience from working within large industrial plant environments. He has the relevant H&S qualifications incl. IOSH and has a passion for safety. After working on installation and commissioning of a float furnace, he spent the last three years overseeing a power station project from its final construction phase, through commissioning and plant optimisation to final handover and operations.
Jonnie’s responsibilities at British Lithium include the day-to-day operation of the mica beneficiation plant. This includes plant maintenance and modifications as well as operational management of the mica beneficiation and lithium refinery pilot plant and assisting the metallurgical manager in optimisation of the process.
Malcolm Spence MChem
Senior Laboratory Technician
Malcolm earned his MChem at the University of Leicester, before spending 6 years with Sibelco as a technician and research scientist, undertaking mineralogical preparation and analysis. He then spent 9 years at the Camborne School of Mines, as the XRF and XRD technician assisting in both research and teaching activities.
Malcolm’s areas of expertise include product research, quality assurance and analytical techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction and X-Ray Fluorescence.
Jacob Southey BSc (Geol), MSc (Geochem)
Jacob has re-joined British Lithium following an internship with the company in 2020 and successful completion of BSc Geology at the University of Plymouth. Having strong interests in mineral exploration and petrology, as well as mineral processing and fieldwork growing up locally in St. Austell. He recently completed an MSc in Geochemistry at the University of St. Andrews focusing on critical metals. He has now returned as a laboratory technician, being responsible for metallurgical plant work, carrying out environmental testing and assisting in geology and exploration.
Chris is a skilled ex-military Engineer with over 21 years of experience within the engineering trade on a broad range of equipment. Chris served for 13 years in the RAF as an aircraft engineer, where he gained a strong sense for attention to detail and high quality of work. Chris has a diverse range of qualifications including risk assessment training, welding, six-sigma, and IOSH Management for Safety. Chris ensures our state-of-the-art pilot plant runs smoothly and is reliably maintained.
Tom has over 5 years of experience in minerals laboratories supporting operations and production, bringing a wealth of knowledge in sampling, physical characterisation, quality control and operational technical support.
Dr Paul Mitchell BEng (Hons), PhD, ACSM
Based in Cornwall, Paul has specialised in clean technology, technology transfer, waste management and contaminated land and water treatment across a number of industrial sectors – in particular mining and quarrying – for more than fifteen years. His experience includes the application of mineral engineering technologies in environmental protection and clean-up; development and practical application of best practice in the prediction, prevention, control and treatment of acid rock drainage at non-ferrous metal and coal operations; management and treatment of wastes and effluents generated by mining and quarrying activities; the design and application of indicators to monitor and optimise the environmental and social performance of mining operations and the research, development and implementation of innovative environmental technologies in developed and developing country contexts.
He is particularly experienced in understanding and responding to the varied financial, economic, environmental and social concerns that different stakeholder groups may have regarding technical and management solutions.
Henry Lister (BCL Hydro), BSc (Geology), MSc (Hydrogeology)
Henry recently completed a ground water and hydrogeology impact assessment of British Lithium’s world class lithium project in Cornwall. He has extensive experience in dealing with a wide range of flood risk and hydrogeological issues at waste sites, recycling operations, concrete batching plants and quarries working various rock types, clays, sands and gravels. Previously employed by Tarmac Quarry Products (1994-2000), initially working as a regional geologist, then based at the company’s headquarters as Senior Hydrogeologist. Overseas experience, including assisting with exploration programme to search for copper deposits in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile (Rio Tinto Zinc).
Steven Fidgett BSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI MIMMM
Steven is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a Director and founder of Union4, an independent planning consultancy specialising in strategic development projects. He provides expert advice to the private and public sectors and has led numerous development projects from concept to completion.
With over 30 years’ experience in the planning, environment and placemaking arena, he has extensive first hand experience in project design, assessment and regulation, helping to address the many related planning and environmental challenges. He has been an adviser to the UK minerals and mining sectors for many years, advising the UK sand and gravel sector, industrial minerals, clays and other industries. He was formerly national policy adviser to the CBI’s Minerals Group and helped launch industry wide community engagement campaigns including Minerals ’98 and Minerals 2002.
Before establishing Union4 in 2017, he was the UK Head of Planning at WYG and founded and led Alliance Environment and Planning from 1995 until their acquisition in 2014.
Specialising in large scale and complex development projects involving a diverse set of stakeholders, he has helped to deliver a wide range of minerals and natural resource projects, as well as many mixed use regeneration, urban extensions, energy, housing and employment schemes across the UK.
Sue Bradbury BA (Hons) PGDip
Sue has been running SBPR Ltd, a locally based public relations agency, for twenty years. She has a postgraduate diploma in public communication and was formerly Head of PR at the University of Plymouth. Before taking up her Plymouth role, Sue spent seven years successfully working as a freelance journalist for national newspapers and magazines and is the author of five published books about Cornwall and Devon.
Students & Academic Staff (Past & Present)
Adam Hall, BSc
Adam is an Applied Geology graduate from Camborne School of Mines, looking to complete his Exploration Geology MSc at CSM next year. He has a keen interest in resource geology and geological field mapping, instilled from numerous field work course during his undergrad degree, including five weeks of mapping the geology of the Gennargentu Massif in central Sardinia for his dissertation. He has experience in mineral processing working with Grinding Solutions Limited; operating, SMD mills, dense media circuits, flotation cells and plant scale centrifuges, along with managing large sample archives and geochemical datasets.
Olly Harper, BSc, MSc
Olly has an MSc in exploration geology from Camborne School of Mines with an undergraduate degree in applied geology from CSM. He is extremely interested in economic geology, particularly target generation and resource geology. With four years of study in Cornwall under his belt (including completing his Masters thesis with British Lithium), he has a thorough understanding of Cornish geology. He has a passion for fieldwork and the outdoors and has racked up significant field time -the majority of which whilst completing a mapping project in the Gennargentu Massif of Sardinia and on various trips throughout the UK.