Michael (Mick) James McMullen (CEO and director) brings more than 29 years of senior leadership experience in the exploration, financing, development, and operations of mining companies globally. Mr. McMullen most recently served as the CEO and President at Detour Gold Corporation (“Detour”), a 600,000 ounce per annum gold producer in Canada from May 2019 to January 2020. During his tenure, Mr. McMullen took the market capitalization from C$2.1 billion to C$4.9 billion over 7 months (date of deal announcement), which represented an internal rate of return of 208%, leading to the acquisition by Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. in 2020. Through his strong technical background and commercial acumen, Mr. McMullen established and led a team that reduced all-in-sustaining costs (“AISC”, a mining metric that estimates all direct and recurring costs required to mine a unit of ore) by approximately US$250/oz over that period in a business that had historically been viewed as an underperforming asset. Mr. McMullen also improved safety performance and repaired relations with its First Nations partners, enabling a large increase in operations to be permitted, which was fundamental to the increase in market value of the company.
Prior to Detour, Mr. McMullen served as CEO at Stillwater Mining Company (“Stillwater”) from December 2013 to May 2017 and as Technical Advisor from May 2017 to December 2018, where he was instrumental to the increase in market capitalization from US$1.3 billion to US$2.2 billion against a 10% fall in platinum group metals (“PGM”) prices over the same time. Mr. McMullen also served as a Nonexecutive Director at Stillwater from May 2013 to December2013. Stillwater was sold to Sibanye Gold Ltd. (“Sibanye”) in April 2017 in an all cash deal valued at US$2.7 billion, which represented an internal rate of return of 16% during his 41-month tenure. During his time as CEO at Stillwater, the company reduced AISC by approximately US$300/oz, increased production to approximately 600,000 ounces per annum of PGM’s, developed a new mine, and built its PGM recycling business to be the largest in the world. The Stillwater business had been operating for 27 years prior to Mr. McMullen’s arrival as CEO and was viewed as a difficult operation with poor labor relations and safety track record. Leading up to its eventual sale, the company favorably renegotiated its labor agreements and reduced by half its safety incidence rate to be best-in-class in US underground mining.
Mr. McMullen’s time before Stillwater involved the identification, acquisition, development, and operation of a variety of mining assets across North and South America, Europe, Australia and Africa. These ranged from gold to base metals and bulk commodities. In addition, he has provided technical and financial advisory services to many of the larger PE funds, activist funds, and banks providing mining finance.
Mr. McMullen has a strong technical background and track record of identifying undervalued opportunities in the mining space, assuming a management position, optimizing the assets, and ultimately realizing shareholder value, ranging from exploration assets (one of two founders at GT Gold Corporation (“GT Gold”), which sold to Newmont Mining Corporation for C$393 million) to large integrated downstream and upstream businesses like Stillwater.
Mr. McMullen is a qualified Geologist and received his B.Sc. from Newcastle University in 1992.
- 20+ years in mine exploration, financing, development, and operations
- Holds the record for the highest EBITDA multiple of any mining M&A deal
- Has provided advisory and technical services to US PE firms for over 15 years
- Most recently CEO of Detour Gold
Marthinus (Jaco) J. Crouse (Chief Financial Officer) is a seasoned mining executive with nearly 20 years of experience in financial management, mine financial planning, business optimization and strategy development. He currently serves as executive director and chief financial officer of AEX Gold. He most recently held the position as the CFO of Detour Gold from June 2019 to January 2020, where he facilitated the successful financial and operational turnaround and sale of the corporation to Kirkland Lake for C$4.9 billion.
Prior to Detour, Mr. Crouse was Chief Financial Officer & Vice President-Finance of Triple Flag Mining Finance Ltd., (“Triple Flag”) from September 2016 to January 2020, a Toronto-based private metal streaming business. At Triple Flag, he developed and implemented new financial reporting systems and internal controls, successfully arranged a C$300 million revolving credit facility with major banks and contributed to a team that committed close to US$1 billion in royalty and streaming transactions. From 2015-2016, Mr. Crouse was Vice President-Business Planning & Optimization at Barrick Gold Corp. where he was instrumental in resetting the operating cost structure (lowering the AISC from US$927/oz in Q1 2015 to US$706/oz in Q1 2016), improving the capital allocation discipline to deliver US$471M of positive free cash flow for the first time in four years by Q4 2015, and debt reduction of US$1.4 billion by Q3 2016, during a period of low gold prices.
Mr. Crouse started his career in mining in 2002 by joining Xstrata plc. (“Xstrata”), the world’s largest ferrochrome producer, and went on to integrate and optimize the nickel business unit in 2007 (post the US$18.8 billion acquisition of Falconbridge Ltd), during which he worked extensively in North America. He also fulfilled the role of Asset Manager at Glencore plc (“Glencore”) following its merger with Xstrata in 2013 and was responsible for integrating the previous Xstrata Nickel marketing offices. Mr. Crouse is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Ontario), a Chartered Accountant (South Africa), and a certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM) with a Bachelor Computations (Honours) from the University of South Africa.
Dan Vujcic (Chief Development Officer) is an Investment Banker & Corporate Advisor with close to two decades of experience in global capital markets. In 2016, Mr. Vujcic established an independent advisory presence, Tilt Natural Resources Capital Limited, focusing on a selection of key clients globally, which he oversaw from 2016 to 2021. Over his career, Mr. Vujcic has advised clients in a diverse range of commodities across numerous jurisdictions, including raising capital in both equity and debt markets globally, supporting the growth ambitions of emerging miners, and attaining a significant presence in the industry. Prior, Mr. Vujcic led the effort to expand Jefferies’ footprint globally through its coverage of emerging small/mid-caps and family offices, working at Jefferies from November 2010 to October 2016. Mr. Vujcic was instrumental in leading First Quantum Minerals Ltd.’s (“First Quantum”) CAD$5 billion acquisition of Inmet Mining Corporation.
Mr. Vujcic started his investment banking career at Citi in Sydney in 2003 in the Metals & Mining team and was involved in several high-profile transactions, including Fortescue Metals Group Ltd’s US$2.5 billion US high yield bond, its initial greenfield funding, paving the way for the development of one of the largest global iron ore producers. In 2007, Mr. Vujcic moved to Morgan Stanley in London working closely on transactions with Rio Tinto plc, Anglo American plc, First Quantum, and a number of emerging markets mining clients in the CIS and Asia.
Mr. Vujcic completed a Bachelor of Business with 1st Class Honours at the University of Technology, Sydney in 1999 and completed his Chartered Accountants (ICAA) qualification at Arthur Andersen in 2002.