The Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) is a not-for-profit organization based out of Victoria, BC, Canada. We are global experts leading the transformation to an environmentally sound, socially responsible, and formalized artisanal gold mining sector.
Our global team has extensive field knowledge and direct experience with Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining communities worldwide. We have decades of experience in the areas of business, sustainable development, social responsibility, governance, environment, health, geology, geospatial analysis, gold markets, and mercury science. We work with miners, government, and industry. Our diversity is our strength.
Dr. Kevin Telmer, PhD – Executive Director
Kevin received his PhD from the University of Ottawa in Geochemistry and held a tenured Professorship at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria from 1999 until 2011 before taking the lead position at the Artisanal Gold Council. He started his work in artisanal mining in 1995 in the Brazilian Amazon and in the following 20 years has worked in numerous countries across three continents. He has extensive experience in technical, policy, and business capacities in the field with miners, governments, international institutions, and industry. He has become a world renowned expert and a voice on the international stage with numerous publications on the issue, including authoring the global estimate on mercury use in artisanal gold mining used to negotiate the Minimata Convention.
Creating sustainable business opportunities for investors and the bullion and jewelry markets while improving the economics, health and environment of miners and their communities in collaboration with governments is a direction that Dr. Telmer brings to the council. A primary goal is to increase responsible artisanal gold production to volumes that are significant relative to the size of the burgeoning sector.
Rébar Jaff – Director of International Programs
Rébar is an expert in program design, policy analysis, people management and public information. His international experience stems from leading humanitarian emergency response operations in armed conflict, post-conflict reconstruction, sustainable development programming and governance reform within NGOs and intergovernmental institutions like the OECD and UN Agencies and Offices.
While at the OECD, Rébar worked as a policy analyst on governance and public administration reform in the Middle East and North Africa. Within the United Nations common system, he has held posts in the UN Departments of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Field Support (DFS) in New York, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in Baghdad and Erbil, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kirkuk, Erbil, and Haiti, and the UNFPA throughout the Middle East. Rébar’s experience also includes policy advice to senior government and UN officials on various cross-cutting and highly sensitive issues of international concern. Prior to joining the AGC, Rébar was Secretary to the Advisory Board of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on disarmament affairs at the UN headquarters in New York.
Rébar holds a BA in Political Studies and English from the University of Manitoba, an MA in International Affairs, Conflict Resolution, and Civil Society Development from The American University of Paris, and a second MA in Sociology of Conflict and International Security from the Institut catholique de Paris. He is currently near completion of his Ph.D. in Comparative Politics and International Relations at the University of Ottawa.
Rébar is fluent in English, French, Kurdish and Arabic.
Adele Ashby, CGA – Director of Finance & Administration
Adele is the Senior Administrator for the AGC, and brings several years of experience as a senior manager. She recently moved to Victoria from Ottawa, Ontario were she was the Finance Manager for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. Adele is a CGA and has worked with Not for Profit organisations for many years. She is fluent in English and French.
Adele looks forward to helping the executive team in their quest to improve the ASGM sector.
Brad Van Den Bussche, PGeol – Director of Business Development
Brad brings over thirty years of experience the mining and resource business where he has provided expertise as an exploration geologist, project manager, and executive in both the corporate environment and as a consultant. Brad received his BSc. (Honours) Geology from the University of Manitoba in 1985. He has worked on and managed numerous feasibility studies, exploration programs, due-diligence evaluations and project assessments of both minerals and energy projects in Canada, the United States, Asia, Latin America, and the UK. The last 10 years, he has been heavily exposed to corporate management and company financing through his position as director and officer of several junior mining companies. His early career concentrated on technical evaluation and project management for the resource industry, while in the latter years, duties were mainly executive and corporate in nature. Skills and experience include project assessment, field exploration program design and implementation, resource estimation, resource quality evaluation, market evaluation, new business development, contract negotiations, corporate governance and company finance efforts. Brad is fluent in English and functional in Spanish and has extensive experience in Latin America.
Richard Gutierrez, JD, Ll.M. – Project Manager and Minamata Expert
Richard brings over a decade of experience in project management on ASGM specific projects as well as policy and development expertise in the field of chemicals and wastes. Richard received his Masters of Law from Columbia University, NY, and Juris Doctor from the Ateneo School of Law in Manila. He has an AB in Political Science and BSC in Management from De La Salle University in Manila. Richard has been working on the issues of international chemicals and waste policy since 2000, and has worked specifically on the global mercury issue since 2001. Richard has participated in the call for a mercury treaty since 2002 and has since participated in the development of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which was adopted in 2013.
Prior to joining AGC Richard established and led a Southeast Asian non-profit environmental organization in the Philippines focused on environmental justice and sustainable development. His work in the Philippines has helped transform government policies on mercury and artisanal and small-scale gold mining. He helped the country develop its 1st National Strategic Plan on the Phase-out of Mercury in ASGM, which has since become a template for other countries to follow. Richard is fluent in Filipino and English and has extensive experience in Southeast Asia.
Jennifer O’Neill, MSc – Project Manager, Remote Sensing Scientist and Technical Writer
Jennifer is a remote sensing specialist, biologist, and technical writer with a strong background in research. She holds a MSc degree in Remote Sensing and a double BSc degree in Biology and Geography from the University of Victoria in BC, Canada. Her past roles include oceanographic research for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and remote sensing research for various academic institutions, federal government, and not-for-profit agencies. Jennifer has worked on a broad range of issues, including ecological response to environmental disturbance, feasibility of natural resource mapping and monitoring using satellite and aerial imagery, and the overlap of social and environmental considerations in marine spatial planning in the Philippines.
Jennifer is responsible for writing the UNEP ASGM Baseline Toolkit, an instructional guide and toolkit for producing a national overview of a country’s ASGM sector and baseline estimates of mercury used, mercury lost to the environment, gold produced, and miner population. She is also involved with the ASGM portion of the AMAP UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2018, which aims to provide the most recent information available on worldwide atmospheric mercury emissions, releases to the aquatic environment, and the transport and fate of mercury in the global environment.
Milene Pacheco, MSc – Project Manager
Milene holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development from Paris Dauphine University, France, and University of Vienna, Austria. Prior to joining AGC, she worked at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) developing and implementing projects with focus on mercury reduction and elimination in Africa and Latin America. She is fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Milene is responsible for managing projects that support countries to meet the requirements of the Minamata Convention on mercury, especially in the ASGM sector.
Peter Rosenbluth, MSc – Project Manager
Peter is a results based management specialist as well as an environment and development specialist with over a decade of experience working for non-profit organizations in Canada and Southeast Asia. Peter has been a consultant to academic institutions, environmental organizations and Aboriginal governments and has worked on issues ranging from mercury toxicity in fish to the creation of transnational environmental management institutions.
With an interdisciplinary background in geology, economics, environmental sciences and international development, Peter helps to ensure that the AGC develops crosscutting solutions to the multifaceted challenges of the artisanal gold sector. He holds a B.Sc. in Earth Sciences and Economics from McGill University and a Master of Environmental Studies from York University.
Peter focuses his work at the AGC on supporting countries carrying out Minimata Initial Assessments and National Action Plans for ASGM in order to meet their requirements under the Minamata Convention.
Cathy Sturgeon, MA – Project Manager
Cathy has an entrepreneurial spirit and loves exploring new ideas and making things happen. She has a keen interest in sustainable development, social innovation, social enterprising, and social finance. Her work and education has taken her to various parts of the world and she is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.
Cathy oversees AGC’s strategic engagement efforts and assists the organization with its management of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) projects in Africa, South America, and Asia. She is excited to be working with a team of passionate and dedicated experts working to improve the opportunities, environment, and health of the millions of people involved in this sector in the developing world. Cathy brings experience working with public, private, and not-for-profit organizations both domestically and internationally in the areas of business operations, organizational and leadership development, communications and program management. She has a BComm (International Trade) and a BA (Spanish Literature) from the University of Ottawa and has a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University with a focus on developing high performing teams.
Sixto Humberto Aguero, MASc – Mineral Processing Engineer
Sixto completed his MASc Mining Engineering at University of British Columbia (UBC) with focus on grinding and energy efficiency and another MASc in Energy Management at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) with focus on alternative energy, he also holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.
He has worked on ASGM in Ecuador, Colombia and Honduras helping improve recovery and energy efficiency on the gravimetric circuits. He also worked two years as teaching assistant on Introduction to Mineral Processing at Coal and Mineral Processing Laboratory at Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining at UBC. He has over of 20 previous years experience on Industry in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela on improving energy use, air pollution emission monitoring and control. Sixto has been an active member of Mesoamerican Development Institute working on the introduction of renewable energy systems for sustainable coffee drying in Central America, for this contribution he was awarded from US Forest International Cooperation an appreciation certificate on the “Wings Across the Americas 2009 International edition” He is fluent in Spanish and English.
Mareike Kroll, PhD – Health Program Manager
Mareike brings over a decade of work experience in public health and sustainability research in South and South East Asia as well as in policy advice. She received her PhD in health geography in 2012 from the University of Cologne, Germany. Prior to joining AGC, Mareike worked as research fellow at the University of Cologne and, among others, coordinated a research project on health inequities in India and a follow-up knowledge transfer project on surveillance of non-communicable diseases to provide evidence-based data for public health policies. She also worked with the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and contributed to policy reports on international sustainable development, climate change and health. Mareike is a member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR). Her research experience in different countries has strengthened her ability to understand complex health related problems with a holistic perspective and develop solutions by applying a critical, context-sensitive and creative approach.
Mareike is responsible for overseeing health-related activities across the AGC’s programs.
Patricia Sims, BAA – Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist
As a dedicated communications specialist, media professional and filmmaker Patricia has always kept a passionate eye on conservation. Patricia has produced award-winning documentaries around the world from the Arctic to the tropics, focusing on nature and conservation education, and the interrelationships between humans and animals. She has collaborated with some of the world’s leading conservation celebrities, scientists, and explorers with a specialization in wildlife and oceanographic productions. Well-traveled in over twenty countries, she has produced documentaries for international television networks, non-profit organizations, and the United Nations University.
Patricia is the Founder of annual World Elephant Day, a global awareness campaign that brings attention to the critical threats facing elephants. Since its launch on August 12, 2012, Patricia has led and managed the annual World Elephant Day campaign and its global marketing and communications strategy, which has participants in over 50 countries and is supported by over 100 wildlife organizations.
While based in Thailand for over five years, Patricia produced two award-winning documentaries about the plight of endangered Asian elephants: Return to the Forest, and When Elephants Were Young. Both films were released theatrically in the USA and Canada, released online in 60 countries, and broadcast on international television networks. Throughout her career, Patricia has written, directed and produced numerous factual series and specials for television, and has managed communications and sponsorship strategies for a variety of international clients.
Douglas Kao, BASc – Mineral Processing EIT
Douglas is a mineral processing engineer-in-training and holds a B.ASc. in Mining Engineering from UBC. He brings about a practical approach to problem solving by drawing on over three years of industry experience working at various Canadian mining operations. He is a zealot of field work and sustainable development, and therefore looks forward to working intimately with artisanal miners worldwide in creating tangible solutions with his technical background. He enjoys travelling and is fluent in English and Mandarin.
Rachel Deloughery, BSc – Executive Assistant
Rachel provides administrative support for all facets of the AGC’s operations from the office in Victoria.
Originally from Ottawa, she is pleased to be joining the diverse team at AGC. With years of administrative experience in a variety of sectors, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Dalhousie University, Rachel brings a well-tailored set of skills to this organization.
Heather Clark – Accounting Officer
Heather has joined AGC as the Accounting Officer, bringing with her over 30 years of experience in accounting and management, as well as several years working with not-for-profit organizations in Alberta. Her diverse working history brings another level of expertise to the AGC family, and she looks forward to working with the team to ensure continued heightening of financial standards and efficiency.
Deborah Brougham – Accounting Officer
Deborah’s background in business management and accounting with a specialty in auditing and financial statement preparation and analysis makes her a perfect fit to the ACG team. Deborah started her career in accounting with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club and since then has moved to expand her experience and education by working at several other for profit and not for profit organizations. Deborah is looking forward to assisting her fellow co-workers by sharing her knowledge and growing her own skills by learning from those around her.
Regional/Country Teams and Associates
Luc Lepage, MSc, PGeo – Gold Processing and Geology
Based in Canada
Field geologist since 1998, he has been involved in mapping and mineral exploration projects in remote areas of Canada and West Africa. As a front line geologist, he worked mainly with local labourers from nearby communities, sharing knowledge and experience to progress and make new discoveries. Luc uses his broad experience and technical skills to teach better practices to the miners and workers of the ASGM communities. He is fluent in French and English.
Luc conducts the field installation of the mercury-free gold processing plants and trains local miners from AGSM communities in installing, maintaining, and monitoring the efficiency of the systems. He has a BSc in Earth Sciences/Sciences de la Terre from the University of Ottawa and an applied Masters in Geology from the University of Western Ontario.
Andrés Recalde, MBA – Canada-Peru Associate
Based in Canada
Andres specializes in the social performance of new exploration projects to achieve social acceptability.
Andres started his professional career as a Management Consultant with PwC in South America. In Canada, he worked with World Vision Canada as Regional Manager for Latin America. He was part of the staff of Barrick Gold’s Pueblo Viejo Mine Project in the Dominican Republic. Here he was instrumental in the stakeholder engagement process to resettle several communities, and reverting negative community perception towards operating a power plant. In both assignments, an open approach to identify fears and expectations allowed for a positive outcome gaining social license. In 2010 he started working with Torex Gold to revert the status of a socially distressed project. His work had a positive outcome which allowed for construction and operation of a mine facility in Mexico.
Andres has established a reputable consultancy practice in Toronto serving mining and explorations companies operating in Latin America. His distinctive approach is people-oriented, aiming to manage expectations and gain trust of local stakeholders.
Shawn Blore – Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Expert, Visiting Expert and Associate
Based in Canada and Brazil
Tracking and certifying artisanal gold along supply chains; design and implementaion of technical assistance programs to artisanal gold miners in return for legal gold sales through recognized channels; design of Conflict Minerals Certification Systems in Central Africa; Researcher and Policy Analyst for artisanal mining in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela; Post Graduate Fellow – Massey College, University of Toronto; Journalist and Broadcaster; Radio documentaries for CBC and NPR; Investigative stories for the Globe and Mail (Toronto), San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, The Independent (London), and others. 1992-1998 Journalist, Globe and Mail Newspaper, Vancouver, Canada
Languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, English.
Agni Pratama – Country Project Manager
Based in Indonesia
Agni brings over 24 years combined professional experience across both the private and development sectors. He brings a unique understanding of the nuances of each sector and has worked to bring them closer together for poverty reduction. His educational background includes International Relations at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Portland State University. Agni is an adept leader having coordinated and guided the activities of different teams and various business partners in the delivery of a number of market system development, value chain and shared value investment projects, as well as having managed progressive positions in the private sector. Agni’s experience has allowed him to develop key skills in the leadership, operations, logistics, international trade payment and delivery systems, marketing and branding, Research and Development, strategic alliances, startup incubation, startup ecosystem development, and business and financial management in different type of sectors, such as High Value Crops, Craft, renewable energy, home furnishing, fashion, furniture, and creative industries.
Prior joining the AGC, Agni worked for as The Director of Economic Development Program in Mercy Corps and worked as The Vice President of Business Development in an Indonesian Venture Capital company “LiMa Ventura”.
Abigail Ocate – National Project Manager
Based in Philippines
Abi has worked on promoting good governance in the extractive industries, particularly on improving fiscal transparency. She served as Country Officer for Southeast Asia at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Secretariat. Prior to that, she was instrumental in establishing and institutionalizing the EITI process in the Philippines as the Technical Manager of the PH-EITI National Secretariat. She also worked as an Environmental Specialist for a private consulting firm handling Environmental Impact Assessment projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology and MSc degree in Environmental Science.
Abi is responsible for managing the Global Environment Facility’s Global Opportunities for Long-Term Development (GEF-GOLD) project in the Philippines.
Chérif Sow – West Africa Country Manager / Gestionnaire des pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest
Based in Senegal
Chérif has many years of experience working in community and rural development, as well as mining law research in Senegal and other African countries. He is responsible for supporting inventory methodology training and the National Action Plan processes in various countries of Francophone West Africa, as well as coordination of AGC`s activities in the region, including site selections, logistics and communication with the local and national government.