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.

Legal Manager and Company Secretary

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.

Janco Van Zyl
Corporate Finance Manager

Janco is a qualified Chartered Accountant with extensive experience across multiple financial disciplines, including financial reporting and analysis, scenario planning, business plan development and strategic projects. Over the past decade he held several roles at LSE listed entities, mainly focused on Gold, Copper and other base metal commodities within the Africa region.


Sustainability Manager

Danny 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 and led the development of the business’ ESG strategy, the Pensana Blueprint for Sustainable Rare Earths, which outlines the business’s commitment to embedding sustainability into the challenge of sourcing and supplying rare earths.


Senior Business Development Manager

Brandon Tucker has over a decade of experience in the metals and mining sector. He has extensive experience in business development specialising in origination, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, valuation, research and commodities markets.

Tania De Welzim
group financial controller

Tania de Welzim is a qualified chartered accountant with more than 18 years’ experience in the mining industry. Prior to joining Pensana in 2022, she held a number of senior positions in globally listed gold mining companies.  Her expertise spans a wide range of financial disciplines, including financial reporting, establishing financial procedures, capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions.

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.


Angie is an adept accountant with a diverse background in finance in the retail and manufacturing sectors. Angie currently oversees the financial operations for Pensana’s Angolan and Portuguese subsidiaries, demonstrating her strategic leadership and proficiency in multinational finance management.


Angie prioritises cultivating strong professional relationships believing that trust and collaboration are the cornerstones of any successful operation. Her contributions are characterised not just by technical excellence, but by a genuine passion for the field and the impact her work has on the success of the business.

Joao Castro
Mining Consultant

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.