Mark A. Smith, PE, Esq.
President, CEO and Executive Chairman
With over 34 years of experience, Mr. Smith is well recognized in the mining community, having recently served as President, CEO and Director of Molycorp, Inc., where he was instrumentally involved in taking the company public. Prior to that, Mr. Smith was the President and CEO of Chevron Mining Inc. from 2005 through 2008. He was also Vice President for Unocal Corporation where he managed the real estate, remediation, mining and carbon divisions for over 22 years. From 2000 to 2007, Mr. Smith also served as a Director and Shareholder Representative of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), a private company that currently produces approximately 85% of the world supply of Niobium. Mr. Smith is also currently serving as President, CEO and Director of Largo Resources (TSXv: LGO).
Mr. Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from Western State University, College of Law.
John F. Ashburn, Jr., Esq.
Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary
Mr. Ashburn is an attorney with over 35 years of experience, including 25 years in extractive industries. Most recently, Mr. Ashburn acted as Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Simbol, Inc., a privately held development stage Lithium production company. He previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Molycorp, Inc. and prior to that held senior legal positions with Chevron and Unocal Corporation. Mr. Ashburn holds a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University, School of Law.
Scott Honan, M.Sc., Mining Engineer
Vice President, Business Development (NioCorp)
President, Elk Creek Resources Corporation
Scott is a graduate of Queen’s University in Mining Engineering in both Mineral Processing (B.Sc. Honors) and Environmental Management (M.Sc.) disciplines. With over 22 years of experience in the niobium, base metals, gold and rare earth industries, his background includes the positions of General Manager and Environmental Manager at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass, CA facility, and more recently, Vice President Health, Environment, Safety and Sustainability at Molycorp.
Neal S. Shah, MBA
Neal is a graduate of the University of Colorado's Mechanical Engineering program (BSME) and Purdue University's Krannert School of Management (MBA). With nearly 20 years of experience in various industries as diverse as high-tech to rare earth, his recent experience includes the positions of Senior Manager of Corporate Development and M&A and more recently the Director of Strategy and Business Planning at Molycorp's corporate offices in Greenwood Village, CO.
Previously, he was with Intel for six years, most recently as a Finance Manager in the high-growth wireless business group. Neal brings a wealth of corporate expertise having also worked at IBM, Boeing, and Covidien.
Vice President, External Affairs
Jim manages investor relations, media relations, marketing, and government affairs for NioCorp. He has more than 25 years of experience in devising and executing marketing, media relations, public affairs, and investor relations operations for companies in the mining, chemical, manufacturing, utility, and renewable energy sectors. Most recently, he was Vice President of Corporate Communications for Molycorp, Inc., a mining and chemical processing company with more than 2,500 employees in10 nations. From 1998-2010, he served as President and CEO of Policy Communications, Inc., where he led the corporate turnaround of the Western Business Roundtable and served as its CEO for eight years.
The former White House Director of Communications for the Energy Policy Development Group, Jim served for 11 years in the U.S. Senate, including as a Chief of Staff. He is the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, and he has served as Board Chairman of the Rare Earth Technology Alliance. Jim is an honors graduate of Georgetown University.
Director of Process Development
Richard (Rick) Sixberry has 39 years experience in mining, hydrometallurgy and mineral processing. His experience includes 38 years at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass operations, where he learned rare earth processing from the ground up and held positions with operational responsibility over all aspects of the operation from drilling and blasting through product finishing. Rick was a key member of the team that re-designed and re-built the Mountain Pass operation between 2010 and 2014.
Jeff is a graduate of Western State College of Colorado (BA, Accounting and Business Administration) and has over 30 years of accounting and auditing experience. Most recently, Jeff was the Corporate Controller at Alacer Gold Corp., where he was responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining accounting processes and controls from the pre-development stage through production.