Keynote & Signature Lectures

Meet Our Expert Speakers

Leading experts from around the globe share insights on the trends and factors changing the future of the industry.


Keynote: The Undiplomatic Truth: Mining Missing the Mark on Securing Popular Support
Monday, February 28, 2022 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Speaker: Ambassador Todd Chapman, international Business Consultant

Ambassador Chapman will review how international governments and local communities are demanding more of mine operators and the increasing complexities associated with securing the social license necessary to ensure uninterrupted operations of mining sites. Drawing on his 30 years of diplomatic experience, most recently as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil and Ecuador, he will share his experiences working with governments, indigenous communities, environmental activists, and mining companies to seek profitable outcomes for all. He will relate how mining operators in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mozambique worked at all levels of government and society to obtain support. As international mining operations face rising demands to demonstrate more direct benefits for local communities and greater transparency in protecting the environment, more emphasis on cultivating the conditions for local buy-in will require novel methods and increased emphasis.

About Todd Chapman


Ambassador Todd Chapman (ret.) is an international business consultant focused on the financial, technology, and environmental sectors. He serves on the Advisory Boards of several companies, including Skycatch, a San Francisco-based data and image analytics company active within the mining sector.

Todd served as a career diplomat for over 30 years. During the Trump and Biden Administrations he was U.S. Ambassador to Brazil where he advanced a broad economic, security, and environmental agenda at the sixth-largest U.S. Embassy in the world. He was the first U.S. Ambassador to be decorated with the Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil’s highest civilian honor given to foreigners. Previously, Todd served as U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador and Charge d’Affaires in Maputo, Mozambique.

Todd is the recipient of several State Department Meritorious and Superior Honor awards and is one of only two U.S. Ambassadors ever to receive the Mission Integration Award from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was selected for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 2021 and recently admitted into the American Academy of Diplomacy in Washington D.C.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Todd worked as a commercial banker in New York and Saudi Arabia, and as a business consultant in Brazil in his hometown of Houston, Texas. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Duke University and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. He and his wife Janetta have two sons and they all reside in Denver, Colorado.


Robert E. Murray Innovation Lecture
Monday, February 28, 2022 | 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Speaker: George Hemingway, Managing Partner and head of Innovation Practice, Stratalis and recipient of the 2021 Robert E. Murray Innovation Award

About George Hemingway

Hemingway George Hemingway serves as Managing Partner and head of the Innovation Practice at Stratalis, a growth strategy and innovation consultancy, where he advises heads of companies, organizations and countries on the future and how to conquer uncertainty. Through his work, he has collaborated with the leading global mining companies to set their future visions and re-imagine what is possible from industrial and mining companies.

George is considered one of the leading futurists in the mining industry, having delivered over 100 keynotes on uncertainty, innovation and the future at venues ranging from the World Mining Congress to S&P Global, from NASA to the Pentagon and at leading universities and organizations worldwide. His work in Techno-Economic and futures modeling for Mining has won awards for Innovation in 2019 and 2020, and he has been named a top-10 leader in mining technology. He is a published author and a monthly columnist on the future of industry and disruption.

George serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards, including Budapest Honvéd FC, a top-flight European soccer club, Moon Mark Aerospace and the Chamber Orchestra of New York and is on the Advisory Board to the Lassonde Institute at the University of Toronto. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS from the Stern School of Business at NYU.
Exclusively sponsored by FLSmidth



Women of SME Breakfast
Innovative Thinking, Move Fast and Break Things!
Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 7:00 am – 9:00 am

Speaker: Sarah Sladek

Sarah's innovative team building is essentially a means for creative, innovative, and collaborative problem solving. Participate in a learning session on empowerment and skill building. This session welcomes and encourages men and women to participate and collaborate.

Outcome to expect:

  • Take charge of your career. Be an innovator in what you do.
  • Productive relationships that would fuel your career and personal growth.
  • New understanding of listening and working together – don’t be afraid to break things.
  • Working environment in a multi-generational environment.

This session welcomes and encourages men and women to participate and collaborate.

About Sarah Sladek

Sarah Sladek has been referred to as a Social Equity Expert and Talent Economy Influencer. Over the past 20 years, she has become a renowned thought leader on the topics of generational shifts, engagement strategies, and change management. Membership associations, non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies rely on her strategic guidance and next-gen intelligence to successfully plan their futures, foster collaborative cultures, and realize growth.

Sarah is the founder and CEO of two entities – XYZ University, one of the nation’s only firms focused on generational research and the development of inclusive and inter-generational workplaces, and Sarah Sladek & Company, a future-focused membership strategy firm. In addition, Sarah is the host of the Save the Associations web show and the Membership IQ podcast, and the best-selling author of five books. She is also a member of the Forbes Business Council. Sarah’s expertise has been prominently featured in international media, and she has keynoted events worldwide. Backed by years of experience and supported by solid research, she remains committed to helping organizations plan for their futures and prosper in the new economy.

Sponsored by Bechtel, FLSmidth, Freeport-McMoRan, Nalco Water – Ecolab and Newmont

Health & Safety Division Breakfast
Mining's Social License in an ESG World: Why Environmental, Social and Governance Programs are Here to Stay and How Health and Safety Can Both Anchor and Elevate an ESG Program
Tuesday, March 1, 2021 | 7:30 am – 9:00 am

Speaker: Hugh Thatcher, Chief Counsel, United States, Rio Tinto

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a topic of focus for many businesses–including miners and suppliers–as investors, customers and the public seek a new level of engagement and transparency. Hugh Thatcher's talk will address why ESG has staying power, where health and safety fits within an ESG framework, how ESG may continue to develop in the near future, and what this means for health and safety professionals and leaders who are passionate about health and safety.

About Hugh Thatcher

Hugh Thatcher leads a U.S.-based legal team that provides support for Rio Tinto businesses and assets in the United States and South America. Before assuming his current job Hugh held other roles with Rio Tinto in Arizona, Utah, and Mongolia. Prior to joining Rio Tinto in 2011, Hugh spent a decade in private practice in Colorado. He holds a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, and a B.A. from Whitman College.

Title sponsor: Rio Tinto
Supporting Sponsor: Predictive Compliance/MSHAWise


Operators Forum
Tuesday, March 1, 2021 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Speakers: John Uhrie, Doe Run Co; Anthony Staley, Horsehead Corp; Jayson Ripke, Doe Run Co., Tom Rausch, Project Manager

Join us for the Mineral Processing Division's revival of the once popular, and always entertaining, Operator's Forum. This unconventional session will discuss today's opportunities and barriers to both innovation and new technology implementation in our industry. Bring your sense of humor for our presentation showcasing voices from across the industry.

Sponsored by: Baker Hughes - Flexible Pipe Solutions


Dreyer Lecture

Navigating the Hurricane of the Junior Resource Market in the Search of Ore Deposits

Speaker: Jeff Pontius, President and CEO, Corvus Gold, Inc.

Over the past four decades, the business of exploration and discovery has changed in many ways. The discussion that follows will examine the shift in the discovery process from internally funded, production company groups to that of the emerging, public market funded, junior explorer. The transfer of exploration leadership to the junior sector has been facilitated by the availability of public market financial resources at a time in the commodity/business cycle that saw traditional production companies reduce long-term exploration funding. These two dynamics worked in unison to empower the junior sector as a significant new discovery vehicle for future mining projects. The producer strategy of outsourcing discovery to the junior sector is driven by risk reduction and the idea that buying assets, post-discovery will be more cost effective. Although the fiscal momentum over the past couple decades has swung in the favor of the junior explorer, the path to technical and fiscal success for this group is extremely difficult as it navigates public market, stakeholder and commodity cycle demands.

Our discussion will focus on the key fundamentals for discovery and more specifically for the junior sector from the author’s past experience. This history includes producer discoveries like Cripple Creek in Colorado as well as junior discoveries such as Livengood in Alaska and Bullfrog in Nevada. Many of the key elements of these discoveries are similar with: high quality on the ground geologic work, aggressive drill programs and agile, real-time project management. The key differences are those associated with funding and management on the path to delivering shareholder value.
In conclusion, based on the author’s experience, discoveries are driven by experienced and committed management that have adequate funding to implement long-term, aggressive, drill focused, exploration programs. It is also apparent, that the new paradigm of outsourcing the exploration/discovery process to the junior sector has produced a dearth of meaningful discoveries, due to the inefficient application of capital. It is believed that the global discovery curve could be enhanced with more dedicated, long-term exploration investment by producers and more discriminating junior investors.

About Jeff Pontius

Jeff Pontius has worked in the mining industry for over 40 years and has led the discovery and development work on five North American gold deposits which include, the world class discoveries at Cripple Creek in Colorado, Livengood in Alaska, and the new re-emerging Bullfrog gold district in Nevada. These discoveries now total over 40 million ounces of gold. He has held senior management positions with a number of major mining companies over his career, although his true passion began in 2006 when he formed his first junior mining company, an area where he has excelled to this day. In 2011, he received the Colin Spence award for Excellence in Global Mineral Exploration. He holds a Master of Science Degree from the University of Idaho, School of Mines, in Economic Geology, a BSc from Huxley College in Environmental Science and a BSc from Western Washington University in Geology.