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.
Kenneth Porter – Project Manager and Supply Chain Expert
Kenneth has spent the last 9 years helping artisanal gold miners establish traceable and responsible supply chains. He has been at the forefront of the market shift towards responsible sourcing of precious metals, having worked with jewellery brands, mints, and gold refiners from Europe and North America on how to source and market ethical artisanal gold. With one foot in the artisanal mines and another in the responsible gold markets, he has a vision of how both sectors can collaborate to add value via ethical supply chains and contribute to a formalized, environmentally sound and socially responsible artisanal gold mining sector. He has developed very specialized skills at effectively engaging actors in the gold market to understand, support and contribute to the artisanal gold mining sector.
Kenneth has been very fortunate to have been able to help four different ASM organizations in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia achieve their first ever direct exports of gold, helping them to establish, develop and maintain trading relationships.
Kenneth grew up in Ottawa, Canada, did post graduate studies in Toronto and has spent significant time living and working in Medellin Colombia. He speaks English and Spanish, and some French.
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.
Firas Abbasi, MBA, CFA – Business and Investment Specialist
Firas has over 12 years of experience in the investment management industry. He received his MBA with a Finance specialization from the University of British Columbia in 2008 and has been a CFA charter holder since 2011.
Early on in his career, Firas worked for Citigroup in Amman, Jordan, and Dubai, UAE, in technology, banking operations, and corporate banking. In January of 2008, he joined British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), where he became the mining investment specialist for the internal active Canadian equities portfolio. He was responsible for a portfolio of 25 investments in the materials sector with input into multiple portfolios totaling ~$11 billion. In 2018, he started his portfolio management consultancy practice, where he advised discretionary portfolio managers with ~$300mm in AUM on asset allocation and fundamental investment processes.
Impact and socially responsible investing have always been areas of interest for Firas. He joined the Artisanal Gold Council with the mission to improve the sustainability of the ASM industry by enhancing the industry’s access to finance.
He is fluent in Arabic and English.
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.
Anupama Ariyaratne, PhD – Communications Officer
Anupama is a communications expert specializing in both scientific and non-scientific communications targeting diverse audiences. She completed her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary in 2020, where she had great success in raising research funds and publishing peer-reviewed articles on immunology and infectious diseases. Additionally, as the communications and social media lead of a research group studying parasitic infections of humans and livestock, Anupama built her expertise in website design, blogging, and social media with a particular lens on communicating complex data, research findings, and other aspects of scientific discovery efficiently and clearly to a broad range of stakeholders. She is thrilled to contribute to AGC’s mission by using her particular passion and strengths; she looks forward to engaging audiences in energizing exchange through accessible research- and data-focused communication.
Scott Gryba, P.Eng., MBA – International Finance Specialist
Scott is a professional engineer, a registered geologist in British Columbia, and a finance specialist with a strong background in mining and the precious metals sector. Following the completion of a degree in Geological Engineering from the University of British Colombia, Scott began his career in the resource sector as an engineering consultant with Golder Associates and Hatch Mott MacDonald. Scott then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario to pursue an interest in investing. He began his finance career with BMO Capital Markets in Toronto conducting equity research of mining companies in the precious metals sector. Post BMO, Scott was an Associate Portfolio Manager at BCI responsible for covering the gold sector and gold mining companies.
With his interdisciplinary background in engineering, geology, and finance, Scott is excited to contribute to AGC’s mission by creating innovative financial and social enterprise models to mitigate business risk in the ASGM sector and to facilitate investment.
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.
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.
Deborah Brougham – Finance and Budget 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 works in close collaboration with her fellow co-workers; she loves sharing her knowledge and growing her own skills by learning from those around her.
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.
Rachel Deloughery, BSc – Executive Assistant
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.
Regional/Country Teams and Associates
Moussa Bouboucari – Coordinateur National de Projet
Based in Burkina Faso
Moussa is a highly qualified modelling geologist with 14 years of professional experience in the field of precious metals and valuable substances research. His activities have led him to management positions in several countries in the sub-region of Africa, particularly in Mali, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Moussa holds a Master’s degree in Fundamental and Applied Geology, a Master’s degree in Mineral Resources and Geotechnics, and a Master’s degree in Complex Systems Modeling and Simulation (M2SC). He also has a solid background in Quality Management and Business Performance, coupled with deep experience in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He is also a term teacher at the University of Fada NGOURMA where he teaches courses in mining exploration techniques, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and mining waste management.
Monsieur Moussa est un Géologue modélisateur hautement qualifié, ayant une expérience professionnelle de 14 ans dans le domaine de la recherche de métaux précieux et de substances utiles. Ses activités l’ont amené à travailler dans quelques pays de la sous région Afrique, notamment au Mali, au Ghana, en Cote d’Ivoire en tant que manager.
Monsieur Moussa est titulaire d’une maîtrise de Géologie Fondamentale et Appliquée, d’un Master en Ressources Minérales et Géotechnique, de l’université de Ouagadougou et d’un Master en Méthodes de modélisation et de simulation des systèmes complexes (M2SC). Il a aussi à son actif, une solide formation en Management de la qualité et de la performance des entreprises, couplée d’une bonne et longue expérience dans la Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises minières (RSE). Il est par ailleurs enseignant temporaire à l’université de Fada NGOURMA ou il assure les cours de techniques d’exploration minière, de la responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises (RSE) et de gestion des déchets miniers.
Adama Ouedraogo – Coordinateur des activités de terrain et des relations communautaires
Based in Burkina Faso
Adama is a senior geologist with 15 years experience in the mining industry and small scale gold operations. He gained extensive experience in a range of commodities and styles of mineralization in the Burkina geological environment. In more recent years he held management roles as exploration project manager. Adama holds a Masters degree in ” Valorisation des Ressources du Sous-sol” from Nancy-Université, a CAPES/SVT (professional ability to teach earth sciences and biology for high school)/Burkina Faso, and an MSc in Applied and Fundamental Geology from the University of Ouagadougou.
Janvier Dabiré – Spécialiste des Investissements
Based in Burkina Faso
Janvier is an investment professional who has cumulated more than 10 years of investment experience throughout West and Central Africa. His experience in the investment industry encompasses the entire spectrum that the profession involves: sourcing deals, negotiating and structuring transaction, portfolio management, value creation, and more.
While at AHL Venture partners, a pan-African leading impact focused PE boutique, he worked as the Portfolio manager overseeing the portfolio of investment in West and Central Africa. Prior to that, he worked for two major banks in West Africa (ECOBANK and Bank of Africa Burkina Faso). Janvier holds an MBA in banking and Finance from CESAG Business school (Dakar –Sénégal), a Masters in Statistics from ENSEA (Abidjan-Cote d’Ivoire) and a Bachelor degree in mathematics from the University of Ouagadougou. He is currently a level III candidate in the CFA program and expects to complete the certification by 2020.
Kevin Brown – Financial Instruments
Based in Canada
Kevin has over 30 years of experience in the equities markets as a head trader for Canaccord Genuity and Leede Jones Gable. He co-established the pro trading operation at Leede Jones Gable in Calgary and garnered extensive experience managing cooperative idea generation, risk management and technical trading. Kevin graduated from the University of Calgary with a BA in Economics and went straight into the deep end that is equities trading. For the past 12 years, he has traded his own and his family’s accounts.
The purposeful and humanitarian nature of the work of AGC was what made Kevin determined to become involved with this organization. Kevin has been tasked with the creation and development of sustainable long term solutions for the ASGM communities. These include the logistical, technical and capital challenges of the Supply Chain Re-Activation Project as well as exploring securities, blockchain/tokenization and crowdfunding as tools to support the mission.
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.
Paul Cordy, PhD – In-Country Technical Team Lead (Peru)
Based in Canada and Peru
Paul has spent the past decade working with small miners for myriad UN and development organizations with ASGM in Colombia, Peru, Congo, Kenya, Indonesia, Honduras, and many other countries. Through these experiences he has learned to apply practical small scale processing solutions, and to understand the challenges faced by gold miners, communities and governments globally. He also captures the challenges and solutions in ASGM in high quality video for integration into his mercury-free gold extraction educational video series. Paul earned his PhD at the University of British Columbia, studying atmospheric mercury emissions from artisanal and small scale gold shops: mapping, modeling, and mitigation. Paul’s aim is to develop practical alternatives to mercury use in artisanal and small scale gold mining that can reasonably be promoted by development agencies, particularly in the alluvial mining space. Paul hopes one day to be able to test his theory that residual gold can pay for landscape restoration in informally mined alluvial areas.
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”.
Daniel Merino, MSc – National Project Manager
Based in Peru
Daniel Merino is a geological engineer with degrees from the National University of Engineering (UNI), Perú and Master of Sciences from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has worked for many years in mineral exploration in South America and Middle East, and has also built experience as an international consultant in gold and copper mineralization, as well as environmental and social Issues. As the former Director of Mining and Energy of Ica Región, Perú, Daniel was in charge of formalization for artisanal miners, small-scale miners, and supervision of metallurgical plants. Daniel also holds professor positions with various public universities in Perú, and is a trainer and coach on occupational safety and health issues. Daniel speaks Spanish, English and French.
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.