Management Team

Facilitating a greener energy future

Management Team

Rocky Smith
Chief Operating Officer

Rocky Smith is a highly experienced Chemical Engineer with 35 years’ rare earths experience. He was Managing Director of Molycorp’s Mountain Pass rare earth project in California, US, which is now owned by New York Stock Exchange listed MP Materials.

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Rocky is one of the few western mining executives with in-depth knowledge of the rare earth industry, including the supply chain, operational start-up and running complex chemical processes.

At Mountain Pass, Rocky was responsible for building the project and delivering operational readiness. He established the training systems, Quality Management and in accordance with “Zero Harm”, the highest possible health, environment and safety performance standards.

William Izod
Chief Commercial Officer

William Izod has extensive experience in managing and developing rare earth supply chains, including 10 years working with large multi-national companies such as Dyson, and Johnson Matthey.  While on the Dyson Automotive Project he managed the  Motor and Powertrain supply chain controlling £1bn of annualised spend.

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In addition, Mr Izod has a broad industrial experience managing other commodity chemicals’ supply chains and implementing strategically important multi-year contracts. He holds a degree in Chemistry and has his Master’s degree in Statistics and Analytics (MSc), obtained from the Sheffield University. William Izod was appointed in October 2021 as a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Pensana with an additional strong focus on developing relationships with off-take partners. He strongly supports the Group in its aim to become the world’s lowest carbon magnet metal producer.

George Zacharias
Group Company Secretary

George is an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, a registered Legal Practitioner (Zimbabwe) and an Associate of Corporate Governance Institute. He is currently undertaking the UK QLTS  process for registration as a Solicitor in England and Wales.

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With over 25 years’ experience of having held  Company Secretary and Legal Counsel positions for Stock Exchange Listed  Mining and Industrial Corporations in Africa  and the United Kingdom; he brings  a wealth of legal, governance and company secretarial practice knowledge and  a broad set of skills to the Pensana Board of Directors as well as the Executive and Management teams.

Andre Pienaar
Corporate Finance Manager

Andre is a Chartered Accountant with 15 years’ experience in the African mining sector in financial management and analyst roles. He is experienced in financial modelling and scenario analysis relating to project evaluation, company acquisitions and disposals, debt and equity financings and re-financings.


Sustainability Manager

An experienced sustainability professional Danny joined Pensana from Drax Group where he led the ESG analyst function and developed the business’ world leading carbon negative ambition. Danny’s has experience across the ESG suite and has particular expertise in the areas of reporting and standards, risk, carbon, social and communities, climate change and environmental risk. He leads Pensana’s ESG strategy and implementation.

Kerry Lewis
Corporate Office Manager

Kerry Lewis has over 30 years’ experience in the corporate services management field of Australian businesses. She has developed her career through a broad scope of engagements, including HR Management, Administration Management, Recruitment, Graphic Design, Document Control and Policy Writing.

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Industries she has worked in include Property Development, Mining, IT and Surveillance. She studied Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Human Resources, at the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. Shortly after arriving in London, United Kingdom, Kerry Lewis began working at Pensana Plc as a Corporate Office Manager and EA to the Chairman, assisting in building Corporate Services systems. She passionately supports the Group in its aims to become a sustainable and zero-carbon supplier of critical minerals for the EV and offshore wind industries.

Craig Kraus
Legal Manager, Africa

A mining and commercial lawyer, Craig, prior to joining Pensana, spent most of his career in the legal divisions of De Beers and Petra Diamonds where he was integrally involved with both mine and company acquisitions and disposals, debt and equity financings, re-financings, capital restructuring involving debt for equity, schemes of arrangement, exploration and mining joint venture negotiations, establishment and operations.

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Also working on the development of artisanal mining initiatives and structures, mining and exploration acquisitions and tenure, governance, intergroup arrangements, serving on various boards and committees, all spanning jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, Jersey, Netherlands, Bermuda, Belgium, Australia, South Africa, Tanzania, Angola and Botswana.

Paulo Nunes
Country Manager, Angola

Paulo has been involved with the Longonjo NdPr Project since 2012, offering his exceptional organisation and management skills and Country Manager experience to the company.

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A fluent speaker of both Portuguese and English, he has established a wide network of governmental and commercial contracts.

Joao Castro
Mine Manager

João as a professional background in Mining Engineering, Geophysics and Geology, with more than 15 years’ experience across international projects with works in four countries, Portugal, Spain, Angola and Mozambique.
Graduation in Geological Engineering, Specialization in Geo-Resources, by University of Aveiro in Portugal.
Member of Portuguese Engineers Association, specialty in Geological and Mining Engineering.

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Certificate for Mines and Quarries Manager, registered in DGEG (Portuguese government department for energy and geology). At Pensana be working on development of environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), resettlement action plan (RAP)and support of development of the feasibility study for mining and environment.

Roy Gordon
Metallurgical Manager

Roy is a senior hydrometallurgist with more than 10 years’ experience across international projects in support of the High Value Manufacturing and advanced manufacturing economies.

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He has built and optimised projects supporting magnet and battery manufacture and holds an MBA from Curtin University and a Double Major in Chemistry and Mineral Science from Murdoch University.

Nick Warhurst
Finance Manager

Nick is a CIMA qualified Chartered Accountant with senior financial experience within the medical, automotive, life sciences and metals industries. Specialising in system implementations/upgrades across multiple ERP systems.

He prides himself on installing best practise and driving a kaizen culture across all areas of the business.

Nick leads the finance function within the UK for the group.