Emerging battery minerals play ChemX Materials (ASX: CMX) has kicked off the year with a beefed-up leadership team that includes a new boss and a refreshed board.
Mark Tory, who held long-term positions as chief financial officer and then CEO at rare earths miner Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU), has taken on the CEO role at ChemX. He has been charged with delivering on the early stage potential of the Perth company’s dual-track high purity alumina and battery minerals exploration push.
In addition to Mr Tory joining, non-executive director Warrick Hazeldine moves up to the chair’s role while Tara Berrie was announced yesterday as the latest non-executive addition to the board.
ChemX is not the only battery minerals play to start 2023 with a new-look leadership team.
Since Gareth Manderson joined Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) as CEO last August he has set about building the organisational capability of Australia’s newest lithium producer.
This week’s news that Doug Warden, formerly of Resolute Mining (ASX: RSG) and Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU), would join as Core’s new CFO in April comes ahead of the company relocating its corporate head office from Adelaide to Perth by the middle of this year.
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At ChemX, Mr Tory starts in his new role on Monday. He will take over from interim CEO Stephen Strubel, who will revert to his previous role as executive director.
Mr Tory played a key role in the construction and operation of Northern Minerals’ Browns Range heavy rare earths pilot plant in WA’s Kimberley region so arrives at ChemX with significant battery minerals expertise.
New non-executive chair Mr Hazeldine, who has replaced Kristie Young, said Mr Tory brought the perfect mix of future-facing commodities experience and leadership nous to the role.
“Mark brings skills and experience relevant to progressing our high purity alumina plant as well as the ongoing exploration and development of the company’s battery manganese and rare earth elements/kaolin projects in South Australia,” Mr Hazeldine said.
Board experience in battery minerals was further bolstered with the appointment of Ms Berrie, who has held roles with Tesla and Rivian Automotive.
“Tara is passionate about supporting Australian companies to navigate the global battery landscape to find their unique value proposition,” Mr Hazeldine added.
“She has an in-depth understanding of how best to position the company and she brings a global network within the battery metals sector.”
Core is in the position that ChemX aspires to be in – on the verge of serious, significant and sustainable cash flow from its battery minerals operation.
In Core’s case, final touches are being applied to the Finniss lithium project on the outskirts of Darwin. A maiden shipment of lithium DSO left Darwin at the start of last month to not only generate about $20 million in sales revenue but also commission the logistics chain from Finniss, 88km south, to the port.
Mr Manderson, who joined Core following a lengthy operational career at Rio Tinto, has been steadily building up the company’s leadership team to reflect its transition from lithium hopeful to cash flow-generating ASX200 stock.
Mr Warden’s appointment follows that of an inaugural executive general manager sustainability, Melissa Winks, who in turn has just been joined by new chief operating officer Mike Stone and executive general manager people and culture Samantha Rees.
“Doug brings 30 years of finance experience to the role,” Mr Manderson said.
“Core will benefit from his depth of mining experience, established across multiple projects and countries.”
Mr Warden added: “I am pleased to be joining Core Lithium at such an exciting time in the evolution of the business.
“I look forward to working with the Core team and building on the great work that has been done to develop a lithium business in the Northern Territory.”