LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Robert Friedland, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of High Power Exploration Inc. (“HPX”) is pleased to announce the appointment of former Guinean Prime Minister Mamady Youla to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Société des Mines de Fer de Guinée (“SMFG”). SMFG is the subsidiary of HPX that holds the concession for the development, construction and future operation of the world-class, high-grade Nimba iron ore project, located in the Republic of Guinea. On December 3, 2019, the Guinean Parliament approved the Amended Concession Agreement that will apply to the Nimba project.
Mr. Youla previously served as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea from December 2015 to May 2018 during the second term of President Alpha Condé. Under Mr. Youla’s leadership, Guinea achieved extraordinary economic growth of greater than 10% in both 2016 and 2017, registered a record level of foreign investment, and completed a reform program with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Mr. Youla is also a highly experienced mining executive and was previously the CEO of Guinea Alumina Corporation (“GAC”) from June 2004 to December 2015. GAC is a subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium and operates the Sangarédi bauxite mine, located in northwest Guinea, and related rail and port infrastructure. Mr. Youla was instrumental in overseeing the construction and operation of the US$1.4 billion project, which was one of the largest greenfield investments in Guinea.
Mr. Friedland said, “We are exceptionally pleased to have Mr. Youla join SMFG to lead our Nimba team. The depth of his experience as both the former Prime Minister of Guinea and as the leader of a major global alumina producer will be invaluable as we accelerate the development of this world-class iron ore resource.”
“We have drawn together an incredibly talented team to join the SMFG Board and oversee the responsible development of this unique, high-grade iron ore project. It is critical that we expeditiously deliver the Nimba product into the global iron ore markets in a way that provides long-term social, economic and environmental benefits,” Mr. Friedland added.
HPX and SMFG have brought together a highly-experienced Board of Directors to help oversee the advancement of the world-class Nimba project.
Honorary Chairman, Kgalema Motlanthe
His Excellency Motlanthe was President of South Africa between 2008 and 2009, and subsequently served as the Deputy President from 2009 to 2014. He heads the Motlanthe Foundation that is dedicated to a range of public-benefit activities, including conflict resolution, promotion of human rights and democracy and the provision of care for pre-school-age children, along with buildings, equipment and educational support for public primary schools. Mr. Motlanthe also is a trustee of Liliesleaf Trust and the Brazzaville Foundation.
Chairman, Guy de Selliers
Mr. de Selliers is the President of HCF International Advisers, a London-based corporate finance advisory firm focused on the mining and metals industry, which he co-founded in 2003. Prior to this, he held senior positions at MC-BBL, Fleming and Chase Manhattan. He was previously a member of the Executive Committee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a senior VP of International Banking at Lehman Brothers NY and worked with the World Bank, where he was responsible for the financing of mining projects in Africa.
Director, Abdoulaye Magassouba
Mr. Magassouba has been the Guinean Minister of Mines and Geology since January 2016, and in this role, he echoes President Alpha Condé’s main objectives of driving economic recovery, creating jobs and strengthening training, particularly for young people, improving the investment climate, and providing support for local businesses. Mr. Magassouba held the post of Counsellor in charge of the Bureau of Monitoring and Support of the Presidency of the Republic from March 2013 to December 2015, and in this capacity, he was involved in many major mining, energy and agricultural projects. He is an economist, having received his Master’s in Economic Policy at Williams College, Massachusetts, USA.
Director, Eric Finlayson
Mr. Finlayson was appointed President of HPX in 2015 after serving as Senior Advisor-Business Development since 2013. Prior to joining HPX, he spent 24 years with Rio Tinto including 5 years as Global Head of Exploration and 2 years as the CEO of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique. Mr. Finlayson is an exploration geologist with more than 35 years of global, multi-commodity experience.
Director, José Carlos Martins
Mr. Martins was formerly the Executive Director of Ferrous & Strategy at Vale. He joined Vale in 2004 and served in a number of executive roles including: Executive Director of Marketing, Sales and Strategy, Executive Director of Ferrous Metals and Executive Director of Equity Holdings and Business Development. He has worked in the sector since 1966 and has significant experience in the steel, metal and mining industries.
Director, Philip Mitchell
Mr. Mitchell held a number of senior leadership positions at Rio Tinto during his 32-year career, most recently as Head of Business Development. His roles have spanned finance, M&A and strategic business change, including playing leading roles in the transformation of Hamersley into Rio Tinto’s key iron ore business.
Director, Patricia Moller
Ms. Moller is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea, and in recognition of her service she received an appointment to the National Patriotic Order of Guinea with rank of Commander. Her highly-distinguished diplomatic career spanned more than 25 years. She has left active service with the U.S. Department of State to return to the private sector and she currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of West Africa LNG Group, and is a Board member of the BAARA Hospital in Guinea, VISTA Insurance Company, Orbis International-The Flying Eye Hospital, Orbis UK and FAYUS. Ms. Moller now consults with companies looking to do business in developing countries, many of them in Africa, and was one of the founding members of the Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group formed in response to the 2014 West African Ebola crisis.
Director, Phil Montgomery
Mr. Montgomery is a highly experienced, mining industry project development executive, having worked in multiple geographies (Australia, Africa, North and South America) and in multiple commodities (iron ore, potash, copper, platinum, nickel and others). He most recently served as Vice President, Projects at BHP Billiton, and previously provided leadership of the BHP Billiton iron ore growth program from 2002 to 2012.
HPX is a privately-owned, U.S.-domiciled mineral exploration and development company. HPX plans to fast-track development of the Nimba project, with a target production of 20 million tonnes per annum of high-grade direct shipping iron ore with the possibility of further expansion in the future. For further information, please visit www.hpxploration.com.