Australian-based mineral explorer and developer Global Geoscience Limited (ASX: GSC) has appointed former BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) Project Manager Matt Weaver as its inaugural Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations after an extensive four-month global search.
Weaver is an industry veteran with almost three decades’ experience in project development, execution and operation. His expertise includes mining, concentration, smelting and power generation. He has worked on smaller projects worth several million dollars and large-scale development projects at BHP and Rio Tinto worth more than $5 billion.
Importantly for Global Geoscience’s Rhyolite Ridge Project, Weaver has significant experience with projects involving acid-leach processing. Recent results from streams completed in association with the Project’s pre-feasibility study (PFS) have shown that the large, shallow deposit is amenable to low-cost mining and simple acid-leach processing.
Weaver will manage all engineering and operational aspects of the Rhyolite Ridge Project and be responsible for taking the project through the development phases and into full commercial production.
Lithium carbonate and boric acid are planned to be produced at the Rhyolite Ridge mine site, providing two saleable products of roughly equal value. Due to its use in electric vehicles (EVs) and other forms of energy storage, the demand for lithium is currently rising.
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Major auto markets such as China, India, France and the UK have all announced targets of phasing in EVs and Bloomberg estimates EV production to increase thirtyfold by 2030. Boron has a wide variety of applications including glass, ceramics, semiconductors and agriculture.
The high-grade lithium-boron portion of the Rhyolite Ridge resource was recently doubled to 137 million tonnes, which is sufficient for many years of production.
Weaver graduated from the prestigious Colorado School of Mines and also holds an MBA. He has spent a significant portion of his career working in south-western USA and has also worked Canada, Australia, and West Africa.
At Global Geoscience, Weaver will be based in the USA and work out of the Company’s Reno, Nevada office, located close to infrastructure and the Tesla Gigafactory.
We are delighted to announce Matt Weaver’s appointment and welcome the wealth of industry experience and judgement he brings to the Company,” said Global Geoscience’s Managing Director, Bernard Rowe.
“Matt will manage operations in Nevada and will continue to build on our world class technical team tasked with transforming the Company into a leading supplier to the lithium and boron markets.”
Weaver’s appointment follows a string of high-profile hires Global Geoscience has made in the last year.
James D. Calaway, former Chairman of Orocobre (TSX:ORL, ASX:ORE), Alan Davies, former CEO of Rio Tinto Energy and Minerals and John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil USA (LSE:RDSA) have all joined the Company’s Board during 2017.
Mining is currently undergoing a renaissance in Australia, with the country’s top 50 companies – including BHP and Rio Tinto – almost doubling their profits this year.
In the coming weeks, Global Geoscience will release the outcomes of its mining study based on the recently upgraded resources as well as key metallurgical testwork aimed at selecting the preferred processing route.
These results will be worked into the Pre-Feasibility study being conducted on the Company’s unique lithium-boron resource.
“Joining Global Geoscience at this early stage of project development is a great fit with my skill set and experience,” Weaver said.
“The unique nature of the Rhyolite Ridge resource provides a terrific opportunity for me to help realise its potential to be a long-life and low-cost producer of lithium and boron.”