Follow the leaders: This week’s appointments

Doctor Robert Solomon.

Stay on top of the latest executive moves across the mining sector, including Curtin University and Fortescue Metals Group appointing a Western Australian School of Mines professor, and changes at Strandline Resources and PepinNini Lithium.

Curtin University in partnership with Fortescue Metals Group has appointed Fortescue operations improvement manager, Robert Solomon as its first Professor of Practice in Mining Automation and Data Analysis at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) Kalgoorlie campus.

At Fortescue, Solomon is responsible for investigating the company’s operational efficiency of its autonomous mining operations.

At WASM, Solomon will lead and implement research initiatives, foster industry collaborations, shape undergraduate curriculum and encourage the expansion of boundaries of applied data science within the mining industry.

Solomon’s appointment has been welcomed by Curtin University vice chancellor John Cordery, Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines and WASM director Sabina Shugg.

WASM is ranked the world’s second best mining school by subject, and Cordery is confident that Solomon’s input will see the school continue as a global leader.


Strandline Resources has selected experienced mining executive Mark Hancock as its newest non-executive director.

Hancock has more than 30 years’ experience in financial, commercial and marketing roles across a variety of industry, with a strong focus on natural resources.

This includes 13 years as chief customer officer, chief financial officer, secretary and executive director at Atlas Iron, and is currently director of exploration companies, Centaurus Metals and Fe Limited.

He joins Strandline as the company works to progress the development of the Coburn heavy mineral sands project in Western Australia, which has recently been provided with a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan of $150 million.


PepinNini Lithium has welcomed non-executive director Luis Fernando Norman Kennedy to the company board, effective immediately.

Kennedy replaces non-executive director George Cumplido, who has resigned from his role at PepinNini.

Kennedy is a qualified lawyer and chartered accountant, current manager of mergers and acquisitions at Deloitte Australia and is the son of PepinNini late founding director Norman Kennedy.

The PepinNini board believes Luis Kennedy’s related experience from his seven years with Deloitte will strengthen the company board and fit in its strategic intent to identify new acquisitions.


Austral Gold has appointed Wayne Hubert as the company’s new executive chairman, and Raúl Guerra as corporate vice president of exploration.

Hubert has over 20 years of experience working in the South American resources sector. He was chief executive of Andean Resources from 2006 to 2010, during which time he led the team that increased the company’s value rose from $70 million to $3.5 billion.

Guerra, on the other hand, brings more than 30 years of precious metal exploration experience to the Austral gold team. He was most recently Barrick Gold’s vice president of Latin America and had been involved in the discovery of more than 50 million ounces of gold.

Austral vice-chairman and largest shareholder, Eduardo Elsztain commented: “With the current global uncertainty and improvements in the outlook for gold and silver, I am delighted that two outstanding professionals like Wayne and Raúl accepted executive roles in the company.

“We’re at the stage where we need to strengthen our corporate strategy and increase the company’s visibility and positioning in the market.”


Atrum Coal chief executive Andrew Caruso will join the company board as managing director.

Caruso is a mining engineer with almost 30 years of global mining experience across operational, management and key executive roles.

He was managing director and chief executive of Australasian Resources, Crossland Resources and Ascot Resources over a combined period of almost nine years.

Caruso was most recently Alcoa Corporation vice president (corporate development), which included time as a key member of the bauxite business unit.

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