We Keep Your Lights On

Management and Directors


    John Lee, CFA & Executive Chairman

    20-year experience in mining Mr. Lee specializes in M&A and raised over C$120 million. Lee identified, negotiated and financed Pulacayo acquisition in 2015, Gibellini in 2017, and Minago 2021. Mr. Lee graduated from Rice University with bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Engineering


    Ron Espell, VP U.S. Operation, VP Environment and Sustainability

    Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mr. Espell is a highly regarded specialist in U.S. federal and Nevada state mine permitting, with over 30 years of experience in corporate environmental management, permitting in conformance with applicable regulatory and performance standards, mine waste management, reclamation, and closure planning.

    Prior to joining Silver Elephant Mining Corp, Mr. Espell was the corporate environmental director of McEwen Mining Inc. Within 18 months from the time he joined McEwen Mining, Mr. Espell led his team to successfully obtain the Gold Bar project’s environmental impact statement (EIS) approval from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District office in November, 2017.

    Prior to his time with McEwen Mining, Mr. Espell was a principal consultant at SRK Consulting and vice-president of environment for Gibellini’s prior operator, where he lead efforts in the preparation of Gibellini’s baseline studies and plan of operation.

    Mr. Espell’s wealth of experience includes being an environmental management specialist at the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, as well as working for 17 years in positions of increasing responsibility at Barrick Gold Corp., from being environmental superintendent, environmental manager of Barrick Goldstrike, regional environmental director — Australia Pacific, and corporate environmental director.

    Papers by Ron Espell
    July 2020, Streamlining Mine Permitting Under Secretarial Order 3355
    A Summary of Implementing the S.O. 3355 Process for Permitting A New Mine in Nevada


    Danniel Oosterman, VP Canadian Operation, VP Exploration

    Based in Toronto, Ontario, Mr. Oosterman has worked for over 17 years with majors such as Falconbridge and Inco in the mining and exploration business specializing in exploration and development of projects from grass roots, brown field, to feasibility stage. Mr. Oosterman is a highly experienced field geologist having successfully managed multi-million dollar drilling programs in challenging weather conditions in northern Canada and elsewhere.

    He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Geology from Laurentian University and is a member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario. Mr. Oosterman will be closely involved in development of the Company’s Gibellini project and exploration of its Bolivian project. Mr. Oosterman is a Qualified Person as defined in NI 43–101.

    Papers by Danniel Oosterman
    March 23, 2019 – Knowledge Of Causes And The Geological Sources Of Vanadium


    Joaquin Merino-Marquez, VP South American Operation

    Based in Bolivia, Joaquin is a professional geologist with 27 years of experience in the mining industry. Prior industry affiliations include roles as vice-president of exploration for Primero Mining Corp. and vice-president of exploration for Apogee Minerals Ltd.
    Prior to Apogee, Mr. Merino-Marquez was the exploration manager for Placer Dome at the Porgera mine and a mine geologist at Hecla Mining’s La Camorra mine. Mr. Merino-Marquez is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English. He holds a master of science from Queens University and a bachelor of science in geology from University of Seville (Spain). He is a member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.

    From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Merino-Marquez lived in Bolivia and led Apogee’s 85,000-metre drill campaign at Pulacayo and Paca silver projects. The drill campaign was a success and defined over 90 million ounces of silver resources according to independent, third party estimates (which are now considered historic in nature and should not be relied up on as they are no longer National Instrument 43-101 compliant).

    Rob Van Drunen: Chief Operating Officer

    Robert Van Drunen, who is based in Thompson, Manitoba, has over 30 years of experience with Vale and Inco. He started his mining career with Inco in 1990 and progressed through his career with increasing levels of responsibility, including Mine Manager and most recently Senior Project Manager of the Thompson Operation. In the latter role, he led multi-disciplinary teams in all aspects of mining, including operations (both underground and open pit), maintenance, exploration, procurement, supply chain management, and contract management.

    Mr. Van Drunen holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University. He specializes in process improvement and cost control, as well as an award winning track record for zero-harm safety culture.

    Doug Ramsey, M.Sc., R.P.Bio: Environmental Manager

    Doug Ramsey is a Registered Professional Biologist in British Columbia, with four decades of experience, both as a consultant and on the owner’s team, in the areas of environmental assessment, permitting, and indigenous consultations in the mining sector. Mr. Ramsey brings particular understanding of the mining sector in Manitoba, having led the permitting of several mines, operations environmental monitoring and permitting at the Tanco mine for 12 years, and mine closure and reclamation projects, including a continuing role as Technical Director for the Sherridon orphaned mine site reclamation project.

    Mr. Ramsey had his own Manitoba-based consulting practice for more than 20 years and was a senior consultant at Wardrop Engineering/Tetra Tech WEI Inc for 7 years, followed by 8 years on the owner’s team of Copper North Mining, initially as VP, Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, and later as CEO, before returning to his own consulting practice in 2020. Over his career, Mr. Ramsey’s practice has included clients such as Inco, Falconbridge, Kinross, Barrick, Spanish Mountain Gold, Environment Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as numerous First Nations in Manitoba as well as in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.

    Mr. Ramsey is regularly called upon to present scientific information to indigenous stakeholders and has made presentations on environmental and reclamation issues at various mining conferences. Mr. Ramsey is very familiar with Minago project and will be assisting Minago’s Environmental Impact Assessment and indigenous consultation.

    Mark Scott: Advisor

    Mark Scott has had a distinguished 20-year career with Vale, Inco and Noranda. His past roles include: Vice President & Head of Manitoba Operations, Vale Canada Ltd.; Director Mining & Milling, Vale Manitoba Operations; Manager, Thompson Nickel Refinery; General Manager, Human Resources & Sustainability; President & Board Chair, Mining Association of Manitoba Inc.

    Mr. Scott is currently President & CEO of Sassy Resources Corporation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University, a Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto, and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University (Schulich School of Business) and the University of Winnipeg. He brings to the Minago operation a wealth of experience in mining, processing & exploration, strategic planning, projects, and business & organizational development.

    David Gower, P Geo: Advisor

    David Gower has 20 years’ experience in nickel exploration with Falconbridge (now Glencore), most recently as Director of Global Nickel and PGM exploration. While at Falconbridge, he led exploration teams to brownfield discoveries at Raglan, Sudbury, Matagami, Falcondo and greenfield discoveries at Araguaia in Brazil, Kabanga in Tanzania, and Amazonas, Brazil.

    Mr. Gower is currently the CEO of Emerita Resources Corp. For the past 10 years he has held executive and director positions with several junior and mid-sized mining companies. Mr. Gower will advise on Minago and regional nickel exploration at Thompson nickel belt.

    Harald Batista: Advisor

    Based in Brazil and California, Harald Batista is the son of the honorable Eliezer Batista (1924–2018), the founder and former president of CVRD (now Vale). With extensive network and fluency in Portuguese, German, English, and Spanish, Mr. Batista will advise on Flying Nickel’s Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) strategy.


    Irina Plavutska, CGA: Chief Financial Officer

    Based in Vancouver, Canada, Ms. Plavutska has been with Silver Elephant Mining Corp since 2010 and is a professional accountant with over 20 years of international experience in financial reporting, auditing, and accounting. She is a member of Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia.


    John Lee, CFA & Executive Chairman

    20-year experience in mining Mr. Lee specializes in M&A and raised over C$120 million. Lee identified, negotiated and financed Pulacayo acquisition in 2015, Gibellini in 2017, and Minago 2021. Mr. Lee graduated from Rice University with bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Engineering

    Greg Hall, Co-Founder & Director

    Greg Hall is a Co-Founder of the Company and has been an Independent Director since October 2009. As corporate director of several public companies since 2003, Mr. Hall has been involved in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and investment decisions. Currently Mr. Hall is President and Director of Water Street Assets, Director of CanX CBD Processing and a Member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Mr. Hall is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, SME Enterprise Board Program, and a Member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.

    Masa Igata, Director

    Mr. Igata has more than 25 years’ experience working in Asian financial markets and is the founder and CEO of Frontier Securities in Mongolia. Previously, he was Managing Director at Nikko Citigroup with a leading role in Japanese equity sales and investor relations. Mr. Igata now focuses primarily on advising and investing in resource companies in Asia. Mr. Igata received his Graduate of Law from Kyoto University and is a member of the Securities Analysts Association of Japan.

    Marc Leduc, Independent Director

    Marc Leduc is a mining engineer and geologist with more than 30 years’ experience involving all aspects of the development, operations, planning and evaluation of mining projects. Mr. Leduc holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University Kingston, and B.Sc. degree in Geology from the University of Ottawa, and he is a registered professional engineer in both Ontario and BC.

    Mr. Leduc has led technical teams in the design and construction of large mines, heap leach and tailings facilities. Mr. Leduc has held top management positions with several mining companies including most recently Chief Operating Officer of NewCastle Gold Ltd before it was acquired in 2017 via merger with Trek Mining Inc. and Anfield Gold Corp. (now named Equinox Gold Corp.).

    Mr. Leduc spent several years working in Peru as the President and COO for Bear Creek Mining Corp, a silver exploration and development company.

    With the imminent re-start of Silver Elephant’s Bolivian silver exploration and mining activities, Marc’s hands on operational experience and competency in Spanish are particularly valuable.


    Paul Kaplan, NewFields Companies, LLC,
    Gibellini heap leach facility design

    Mr. Kaplan is a professional engineer with more than 35 years of experience in civil and geotechnical engineering for a wide variety of projects with an emphasis toward mining and large civil engineering projects. Paul has extensive experience related to leach pads, tailings dams and mine waste management, engineering design, permitting, construction oversight and the use of geosynthetics for reinforcement, separation and environmental control. He served as project principal, project manager, or design engineer on over 250 projects that have included geosynthetic and asphaltic concrete liner system design and construction.

    Mr. Kaplan’s experience includes the following:

    Area 30 Heap Leach Facility at Barrick’s Cortez
    Stage 6 Heap Leach Facility at Coeur’s Rochester
    Heap Leach Facility for Kinross Bald Mountain
    Reusable and Dedicated Heap Leach Facility at Kinross Round Mountain.

    Robert Davidson P. Eng, M3 Engineering
    Gibellini EPCM

    14 years experience in engineering, procurement, construction management with M3, a well known international firm.

    Managed over 60 EPCM projects that include Hudbay’s Rosemont (Copper Heap Leach, SX-EW) and Southern Peru Copper’s Cuajone project (120,000 tpd).

    Michael Milczarek GeoSystems Analysis Inc.
    Gibellini heap leach hydrodynamic studies

    Mr. Milczarek has over 25 years of experience with the development, implementation, and management of hydrogeologic and geochemical studies. He has a broad range of project management experience on groundwater recharge studies, mine waste cover system design, riparian habitat restoration and monitoring, monitoring of natural groundwater recharge in a variety of environments, and heap leach hydrodynamic studies. He has authored or co-authored over 40 refereed publications on groundwater recharge, vadose zone characterization and modeling, mine reclamation and habitat restoration. His Heap Leach Hydrodynamic clients include

    Barrick Gold (several properties)
    Kinross Gold (several properties)
    Minera Escondida Limitada
    BHP Olympic Dam

    Papers by Mr. Milczarek
    September 14-16, 2015 – Investigating Leaching Alternatives for Heterogeneous Heap Leach Pads
    November 10−13, 2014 – Characterization of gold inventory and impediments to recovery at an active heap leach facility
    September 23-25, 2013 – Ore permeability methods of evaluation and application to heap leach optimization
    September 23-25, 2013 – Characterization and in-situ monitoring of large scale heap leach fluid dynamics