Meet The Team
Andrew Smith BEng (Hons) (Aero Mech), BCom (Fin), CEO
Andrew is an engineer with 14 years in the mining industry, specialising in multi-discipline project management having managed 4 successful feasibility studies. He was awarded first class honours for his thesis on energy consumed in mining and proposed novel autonomous electric mining equipment, elements of which have recently been adapted by major equipment manufacturers. Most recently Andrew was the Project Manager for the Cinovec Lithium Project (Czech) process development and in 2017 completed a Prefeasibility Study for the production of lithium, tin and potash. Andrew specialises in the specification, supervision and interpretation of metallurgical testwork, development of extractive metallurgy and process design and was instrumental in developing the unique low-cost lithium flow sheet for Cinovec. Andrew previously ran a large international technical team for Cominco’s Definitive Feasibility Study on the $600m phosphate mine in Republic of Congo. He supervised testwork development and process design and pilot production at Mintek Laboratory in South Africa. Andrew worked closely with Government, local communities and environmental teams completing an Environmental, Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to World Bank performance standards. Andrew has led metallurgical research into the sustainable economic extraction of lithium from the unique Cornish micas, resulting in two patent applications.
Roderick Smith BCom, CA, F Fin, FRGS, Chairman
A Chartered Accountant with a strong interest and extensive experience in extractive metallurgy and mine development, Roderick holds a post-grad diploma in Mining Investment Analysis, is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Institute. For more than 25 years he was CEO of publicly listed Australian mining companies, responsible for the discovery, financing, development and operation of five mines. A member of local government for nine years, including two as President, he was awarded an Australian Centennial Medal for services to the community in 2001. Roderick is an acknowledged world expert in specialty metals production, supply and demand, writing many papers on these topics and speaking at numerous international conferences over the last 20 years. He was a founding director of the owner of the Cinovec lithium project and Managing Director of Cominco Resources Limited for 9 years. Roderick is a member of the British Standards Institute lithium committee, and represents Britain on the International ISO Lithium 333 committee charged with developing standards in the field of lithium mining, concentration, extraction, separation and conversion to useful lithium compounds/materials including lithium-ion battery materials,
John Walker, Strategic Advisor
John lives in St Austell, Cornwall, and has previously held senior management positions with Imerys in Belgium and USA, having started his career with 12 years working for Imerys / ECC in Cornwall. He was responsible for building and leading a JV between Imerys & Norsk Mineral, producing high purity materials from granite through flotation, calcination, chemical leaching and chlorination. John will help promote a high standard of corporate governance for the business and our activities as well as assist with key stakeholder engagement of our activities.
Research and Innovation
Dr Robert Gruar, Head of Research, Development & Innovation
Rob has left Dyson to take a full-time role with BLL running the exciting development and patenting of our novel technology for the beneficiation of mica from granite, and the extraction of battery-grade lithium using environmentally sustainable processes. He is currently specifying an extensive range of specialist laboratory and pilot equipment being purchased by BLL for our laboratory in Cornwall, which will enable us to “on-shore” and scale-up R&D work previously conducted for us in Australia. Rob has extensive experience working with lithium active materials and their application in new battery cell chemistries, and so has first-hand knowledge of the evolving technical requirements of potential customers. He has also led the creation and patenting of lithium-ion intellectual property. Robert has a PhD and post-doctorate in Materials Chemistry and Engineering from University College London and was a visiting academic at the University of Oxford. He was Principal Engineer at Dyson for the past five years, where he ran lithium-ion battery research, process design, materials characterisation and development, analytical chemistry, process optimisation, process economic modelling, technology innovation and delivery, electrochemistry and battery materials manufacturing. Before Dyson, he was a senior researcher at Sharp Laboratories for three years, where he worked on novel electrochemically active battery materials, and successfully transferred novel material compositions to toll manufacture.
Dr Klaas Peter van der Wielen, Manager of Metallurgy
Dr van der Wielen previously worked with local Cornish Company Grinding Solutions specifying and supervising specialist metallurgical testwork across a diverse range of commodities. Klass Peter holds a PhD in Minerals Engineering from the prestigious Camborne School of Mines. He specialises in comminution and liberation of minerals with extensive experience in ball/rod mill and stirred milling applications, including media selection, liberation assessment and pulp chemistry assessments as well as classification, flotation, hydrometallurgy, gravity/magnetic separation and solid/liquid separation. He is highly proficient in the analysis of QEMSCAN, Zeiss Mineralogic XRD, XRF, optical microscopy, SEM data
Robin Kelly BSc MSc, Manager of Geology
Robin has previously worked as chief geologist in Africa, where he was responsible for implementing and managing an exploration programme that required rapid resource drilling to discover new deposits and return a mine to production. His career has taken him all over the world since completing his MSc in Mining Geology at Camborne School of Mines in 2010. Robin will take over management or our team of geologists defining and interpreting lithium-mica granite deposits in Cornwall.
Barry Whiftford, Quarry Manager & HSE Manager
Barry's role is to review and monitor our health and safety assessments and practices, and to ensure our work on site is planned and completed to the highest standard to ensure the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the community. Barry has extensive experience in Cornwall as a Quarry Manager. He was previously an Operations Manager and Safety Director for IMERYS MINERALS UK.
Martin Wheeler, BSc, Exploration Geoscientist
Martin is a Cornish exploration geologist with a BSc in Applied Geology from Camborne School of Mines. He is an enthusiastic field geologist who enjoys mapping and field sampling. This stems from his time mapping in Scotland which also focused on a granitic intrusion. In addition to this, Martin brings to the team a vast amount of drilling knowledge due to his work on numerous geotechnical projects within the South-West through working with a local drilling contractor. He has worked and supervised on numerous brownfield sites and drilled for both site investigations and geotechnical projects of varying scales. He has been heavily involved with the sample preparation aspect of the Diamond programme and both trenching/channelling campaigns. He has a keen interest in both exploration and mineral deposit geology and has always resided in Cornwall.
Naomi Smith, BSc, MSc, Laboratory Team Leader
Naomi is a Cornish exploration geologist with a Masters of Science in Mining Geology from Camborne School of Mines. Naomi has a passion for testwork interpretation and mineral processing. She is also the current treasurer for the Cornish Institute of Engineers. Naomi leads the sample preparation work at our Operations Base in Roche. She is diligent and meticulous in her work especially in QA/QC. Naomi is an avid rower.
Dr Paul Mitchell Environment Consultant
Based in Cornwall, Paul has specialised in clean technology, technology transfer, waste management and contaminated land and water treatment across a number of industrial sectors - in particular mining and quarrying - for more than fifteen years. His experience includes the application of mineral engineering technologies in environmental protection and clean-up; development and practical application of best practice in the prediction, prevention, control and treatment of acid rock drainage at non-ferrous metal and coal operations; management and treatment of wastes and effluents generated by mining and quarrying activities; the design and application of indicators to monitor and optimise the environmental and social performance of mining operations and the research, development and implementation of innovative environmental technologies in developed and developing country contexts.
He is particularly experienced in understanding and responding to the varied financial, economic, environmental and social concerns that different stakeholder groups may have regarding technical and management solutions.
Henry Lister (BCL Hydro), Principal Hydrogeologist, BSc (Geology), MSc (Hydrogeology)
Henry recently completed a ground water and hydrogeology impact assessment of British Lithium’s world class lithium project in Cornwall. He has extensive experience in dealing with a wide range of flood risk and hydrogeological issues at waste sites, recycling operations, concrete batching plants and quarries working various rock types, clays, sands and gravels. Previously employed by Tarmac Quarry Products (1994-2000), initially working as a regional geologist, then based at the company’s headquarters as Senior Hydrogeologist. Overseas experience, including assisting with exploration programme to search for copper deposits in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile (Rio Tinto Zinc).
Alex Hill (Wardell Armstrong), Principal Advisor
Alex is an underground mine and open pit manager based in Cornwall, with project management and consulting experience built over a career of 40 years in Europe, South East Asia and Africa. Alex has substantial expertise in many aspects of the mining industry, including mineral logistics, seaport management, feasibility studies, developing mine and quarries businesses from green field sites.
Alex’s experience is gained from employment at the Luanshya Copper Mine in Zambia including as mine manager; prior to experience working at management level in the European Kaolin industry, based in Cornwall, UK,managing Park Pit on Bodmin Moor, Operationsmanager for the Karslake open pits of Little Johns, Dorothy, Old Pound, Long Stones, Wheal Martyn, Gunheath, and managing the North Goonbarrow refiner with Goonbarrow, Rocks and Baal pits. Alex also managed the dryer operation at Rocks and the Par and Fowey sea ports while with IMERYS.
Students and Academic Staff
Adam Hall, BSc, Exploration Geoscientist
Adam is an Applied Geology graduate from Camborne School of mines, looking to complete his Exploration Geology MSc at CSM next year. He has a keen interest in resource geology and geological field mapping, instilled from numerous field work course during his undergrad degree, including five weeks of mapping the geology of the Gennargentu Massif in central Sardinia for his dissertation. He has experience in mineral processing working with Grinding Solutions Limited; operating, SMD mills, dense media circuits, flotation cells and plant scale centrifuges, along with managing large sample archives and geochemical datasets.
Olly Harper, BSc, MSc, Exploration Geoscientist
Olly has an MSc in exploration geology from Camborne School of Mines with an undergraduate degree in applied geology from CSM. He is extremely interested in economic geology, particularly target generation and resource geology. With four years of study in Cornwall under his belt (including completing his Masters thesis with British Lithium, he has a thorough understanding of Cornish geology. He has a passion for fieldwork and the outdoors and has racked up significant field time. The majority of which whilst completing a mapping project in the Gennargentu Massif of Sardinia and on various trips throughout the UK.
Jacob, BSc, Work Experience
Jacob is currently a BSc geology student at the University of Plymouth. He has grown up in Cornwall and lived in St Austell all his life, which has given him strong interests in exploration and mining geology, as well as petrology and fieldwork. Having explored a large amount of Cornwall and Devon himself and on university fieldtrips, he also has a strong interest in fieldwork. In September, he will start his research project studying the petrology of oceanic crust in Oman to get a taste of the geology of a different location. He is currently undertaking an internship with British Lithium to gain an insight into the mineral exploration industry.