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.
Nikki Macdonald, PhD – Deputy Executive Director
Dr. Nikki Macdonald has a distinguished career in public service and in the private sector, and has worked with leaders in industry, government, and academia. In 2019 she launched her own consulting practice focusing on strategic planning, policy and governance working with clients in Canada and abroad. She served as the Executive Director Research Initiatives, and Government Relations for the University of Victoria, the Director of Federal Affairs for Schering Plough and served as a senior advisor to the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien when he was Prime Minister. Dr. Macdonald is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria where her research focus has been environmental governance. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and chairs the Constitution and Policy Committee. She was recently appointed to the CRD Solid Waste Advisory Committee. She was previously a Fellow of the Public Policy Forum and served on the Board of Directors of the Artisanal Gold Council.
Deborah Brougham, B.Sc., CCP – Finance and Budget Officer
Deborah is an accomplished and pragmatic professional with cumulative experience overseeing operations, office administration, and budget management for international projects, combined with 20+ years of Finance and Accounting expertise. Preparing and managing international budgets, office administration, HR staffing strategy, and supervising high-performing international teams to complete projects within restricted funding while complying with local regulations is the norm for her.
Deborah utilizes her planning skills, adaptability, and forward-thinking perspective to effectively create, execute, and adjust plans based on operational requirements. Equipped with strong communication and leadership skills, capable of guiding internal teams, liaising with executive leaders, and coordinating with culturally-diverse stakeholders to complete established objectives in business management and accounting with a specialty in auditing and financial statement preparation and analysis make her a perfect fit for the AGC team.
Mareike Kroll, PhD – Director of Health and Research
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.
Jennifer O’Neill, MSc – Project Manager, Research Scientist
Jennifer is a Project Manager and Scientist with over a decade of experience conducting research for various academic institutions, federal government entities, and not-for-profit agencies. She combines a background in Aquatic Research, Applied Optics, Geomatics, and Communications with experience in the realms of artisanal mining, small- and large-scale fisheries, and habitat management to form a multidisciplinary approach.
Prior to joining the AGC in early 2017, Jennifer worked on a broad range of issues, including ecological response to environmental disturbance, the feasibility of natural resource mapping and monitoring using satellite and aerial imagery, and the integration of social and environmental considerations in resource conservation and marine spatial planning.
Jennifer is currently Project Manager for “Sustainable Development of ASGM in Indonesia” and “Reducing Mercury Use in Papua New Guinea’s ASGM Sector”. As a research scientist and field lead, she carries out mercury inventory and exploration of the formal and informal ASGM sector around the world. She also facilitates workshops for governments, academic groups, and NGOs on the topic, enabling Parties of the Minamata Convention to formulate data-backed mercury reduction strategies. With a specialization and industry experience in remote sensing, she leads remote mapping projects, from image acquisition through calibration, analysis, map creation, and on-the-ground validation. Jennifer has worked with miners and stakeholders in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Ecuador, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Kenya, and Mozambique.
In a synthesis of these activities, Jennifer is the lead author of “Estimating Mercury Use and Documenting Practices in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining,” a guidebook and suite of data tools that may be used to explore and understand the sector at a country scale and produce defensible estimates of mercury used, gold produced, and miner population. She was also involved with the AMAP UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2018, which aims to provide up-to-date information on worldwide atmospheric emissions, aquatic releases, and the transport and fate of mercury in the global environment.
She holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Geography and a M.Sc. in Geomatics from the University of Victoria, Canada.
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.
Anna Bugmann, MSc – Project Manager and Supply Chain Expert
Anna is a professional in the field of international cooperation and development, with demonstrated work experience for non-profit organizations as well as social enterprises in Switzerland, Southeast Asia and West Africa. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geoscience from the University of Lausanne and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from ETH Zurich with an interdisciplinary focus on environmental systems and policy. Anna wrote her Master’s thesis on power relations in artisanal gold supply chains in Burkina Faso, which brought her into contact with the country and the mining sector for the first time.
After having worked for the AGC for one year as Country Representative based in Burkina Faso, Anna is excited to serve the mission on a global level, by working closely with the national country teams and mining communities in various locations. The need for business opportunities, investment and access to formal markets for ASGM lies at the heart of her convictions.
Passionate about the sector and convinced that it holds significant potential to foster sustainable communities in the rural parts of many developing countries, Anna is pleased to contribute to the AGC’s mission to improve artisanal and small-scale miners’ lives all over the world.
Anna is originally from Switzerland and she is fluent in German, French, English and Spanish.
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.
Tegan Holmes, MPH – Project Manager (Peru and Suriname)
Tegan has over 5 years of experience in communications and project management within the nonprofit world and the private sector. Her professional journey began once she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Victoria in Canada. From there, she pursued a Master of Public Health from the University of Haifa in Israel. Throughout her studies, Tegan contributed to a number of development-related research projects pertaining to global health.
While studying, Tegan worked in marketing communications for high-tech and cryptocurrency companies around the globe. Prior to joining the AGC team, she worked as a Communications and Program Support Officer for CARE International in Zambia. She was attached to a major nutrition project in Muchinga Province, and the associated public engagement campaign – Feed Her Future. Tegan is excited to bring her communications and project management skills to the AGC team, and contribute to its mission.
Jose L. Barillas-Diaz, MSc – Exploration Geology and Database Scientist
Jose is a geologist with a strong background in exploration geology and isotope geology. He holds an MSc degree in Earth Sciences and a BSc degree in Engineering Geology. Before joining the AGC, Jose worked in the mining industry as an exploration geologist, structural specialist, geotechnical researcher, geochemist and QA/QC, and database management specialist. His research interests focused on thermochronology, structural geology, and igneous petrology to constrain cooling histories from the evolution of magmatism, mineralization, and deformation processes to understand the nature of epithermal ore deposits.
At the AGC, Jose is responsible for quantitative data analysis, building and maintaining databases, and generating thematic maps for all AGC projects.
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 – Technical Coordinator (Mongolia & Philippines)
Douglas Kao holds a B.A.Sc. in Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has been engaged in the world of ASGM since 2019. He brings about a practical approach to problem-solving by drawing on industry experience from working at various Canadian mining operations in addition to his current work in the non-profit sector. A zealot of fieldwork and sustainable development, his primary role at the AGC involves the technical design, coordination, and management of establishing responsible gold extraction systems within ASGM communities. This has brought him internationally to project sites in Indonesia, Mongolia, and the Philippines. Douglas enjoys horseback riding and is fluent in English and Mandarin.
Abel Ouedraogo, MSc – Exploration Geologist
Abel is a professional geologist with nearly 15 years of international experience in mineral exploration, mining, and environmental assessment. He holds a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He later completed a Diploma in Geological Technology from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is currently completing a Masters of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership at Queen’s University. Throughout his career, Abel has worked in different roles from grass-root exploration to mining projects in Canada and West Africa, including work in the ASGM sector. He has carried out training on techniques aimed at optimizing sustainable gold recovery and has implemented programs to sensitize communities on mercury toxicity. Abel is fluent in Moore, English, French and basic German.
As a native of the Centre-North region of Burkina Faso that feeds the biggest ASGM workforce in the country, Abel got exposed at an early age to some of the challenges these communities face and has since looked for ways to improve the sector. Developing relationships and building trust with ASM communities has been one of the greatest joys of Abel’s career and he is excited to join the AGC team and contribute to the organization’s mission.
Anupama Ariyaratne, PhD – Communications and Science 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.
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 the continued heightening of financial standards and efficiency.
National Project Managers and Coordinators
Alizèta Ouedraogo, MSc – National Project Coordinator
Based in Burkina Faso
Alizèta is a socio-anthropologist and a PhD candidate in Sociology and Anthropology on women and small scale artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso at the University Lumière Lyon 2 (France) and holds a Master 2 in Anthropology (specialization Dynamics of Cultures and Societies) from the same university. She specializes in health, women, gender, land tenure, mining issues (artisanal and industrial), social insurance and mutualities. She has worked on these issues in research institutes (IRD), consultancies and mining companies.
Marieke Heemskerk, PhD – National Project Manager
Marieke Heemskerk is a Cultural Anthropologist (PhD, Univ. of Florida) who has been living and working in Suriname since 2003. She has conducted research among artisanal and small-scale mining populations since 1998, both in Suriname and in a variety of other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Projects have involved long-term evaluation of the Suriname malaria program in ASGM areas, Sexual Behavior Surveillance Surveys among sex workers in Suriname ASGM areas, and gender studies in the ASM sectors of Zambia and Mongolia. Currently, Heemskerk is the Project Manager of the AGC program in Suriname, which focuses on the reduction of mercury use by small-scale gold miners.
Julio César Porras Ramírez, MSc – National Project Manager
Based in Colombia
Julio is a professional geologist with over 20 years of experience in mineral exploration, mining, and environmental surveys. Along with being a Geographical Information Systems specialist, he holds an MSc in Geographic Information Technology and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Mining Geology. Throughout his career, Julio has worked in different roles related to the development of mining projects from open pit and underground prospecting, to exploration and exploitation stages, which includes work in the artisanal mining sector. He has extensive experience in underground and open-pit mining, vast knowledge of the mineral benefit process, environmental processes, land use planning, studies, and conducting threat/risk zones analyses for mining.
Specifically, within the artisanal mining sector, Julio has worked in the development of exploration campaigns, deposit modeling, and definition of resources in areas where ASGM is present. Some of the mining areas he has worked in are the following: Marmáto (Caldas), Apía and Quinchía (Risaralda), the mining areas of Chocó, in Amagá, Frontino, Zaragoza, Segovia and Remedios (Antioquia), the Cesar area and the South of Bolívar in Colombia. In recent years, Julio has worked intensely in the mining area of Sur de Bolívar, which has an important ASGM presence. His focus has been on carrying out technical assistance programs within these communities and working to improve gold production and the use of better safety and mining techniques.
Julio is fluent in Spanish and English.
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.
Sarah Aviado – National Project Manager
Based in the Philippines
Sarah is an environmental advocate, public servant, community organizer, educator, and motivational speaker. She has been involved in the small-scale mining sector for 14 years through research, theater productions, and advocacy efforts toward the legalization and formalization of the sector. Prior to joining the AGC, Sarah’s previous roles included a municipal environment and natural resources officer, municipal councilor, and educator on graduate, tertiary, and secondary levels in the fields of public administration, literature, theater arts, and humanities. In addition, she has actively engaged in various government, non-government, private, and volunteer work.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and pursued master’s and doctoral degrees in public administration.
Sarah is responsible for managing the Global Environment Facility-supported planetGOLD project in the Philippines.
Altanbagana Bayarsaikhan – National Project Manager
Based in Mongolia
Experienced in project management, corporate communications, government relations, and community relations, Bagana has managed a number of international development projects funded by SDC and USAID, and worked in the small scale and large scale mining sector for the last several years. He is a graduate of Manchester University, UK. Bagana is very excited to contribute his knowledge and experience to the betterment of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Mongolia.
Bagana is responsible for managing the Global Environment Facility-supported planetGOLD project in Mongolia.
Bunting Williams, BSc, MSc – National Project Coordinator
Based in Sierra Leone
Bunting is a geologist and an environmental management professional with over 15 years of field experience in the mineral exploration/mining industry. He has served in various roles, including as senior geologist, health, safety and environment officer, exploration manager, and country liaison manager for Nimini Mining Limited in Sierra Leone; geology manager for Jindal Steel Africa in Mauritania and Liberia; and senior project lead geologist for Core Mining Limited in the Republic of Congo. He is currently Secretary-General for the Sierra Leone Institution of Geoscientists (SLIG) and actively involved with promoting geoscience practice within Sierra Leone.
As Lead National Consultant (for Geology) in 2019, he was responsible for drafting technical sections relating to mercury-free processing methods of the National Action Plan for Sierra Leone’s Artisanal and Small-scale gold mining sector, whilst also reviewing the entire NAP document, working with UNITAR, EPA-SL, other consultants and stakeholders.
Bunting is the National Project Coordinator for the project titled “Sustainable Development of the Small-scale Gold Mining Sector in Sierra Leone” implemented by the AGC and GIZ under a co-financing agreement between the European Union and the German Development Cooperation, as part of their program “Regional Resource Governance in West Africa”.
Brad Van Den Bussche, PGeol – Business Development Consultant
Brad brings over thirty years of experience in 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. Over 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.
Hans Erasmus, MSc – Business Finance Specialist
Hans is a Professional Geologist registered in British Columbia, Canada and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43–101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43–101) and a Valuator in terms of the VALMIN and CIMVAL codes. He has more than 35 years of diverse international experience providing exploration management services, project evaluation, due diligence studies, as well as mineral project and mine valuations services for mining companies and financial institutions engaged in mergers and acquisitions or for the listing of companies on Stock Exchanges in South Africa, London, Perth and Toronto.
Much of his earlier work has been in Africa, but for the last 10 years, he has been based in Hong Kong and Mongolia, consulting throughout South-East Asia. He holds a BSc degree in Geology, a Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Mining) and a Master of Science degree in Mineral Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Hans looks forward to contributing to AGC’s mission by exploring business and financial models to facilitate investments in the ASGM sector.
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 implementation 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 – Based in Indonesia
Agni brings over 24 years of 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 to working with 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”.
Paul Cordy, PhD
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.