Massive deposits of rare earths – the key component in electric vehicle production, permanent magnets, alternative energy and other green technologies – are located in Africa and South America that may be otherwise overlooked. Auxico Resources Canada Inc. (CSE: AUAG) is a Canadian company specializing in producing rare and critical minerals. Auxico is poised to be one of the largest suppliers of these materials outside of China. Auxico is the exclusive trade agent for rare earth concentrates from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In addition, Auxico also has joint ventures with companies or owns mineral rights in Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil. Overall, the company has access to nearly 4 million tonnes of these minerals, making it a significant player in the global market.
This week Auxico announced a change in executive leadership and the addition of a new Board member. Frederick Kozak took over as president and Chief Executive Officer of Auxico as of September 6th. Kozak was previously the president of Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. (CSE: API | OTCQX: APAAF), which on his departure announced that Appia CEO Tom Drivas will assume the role of interim president pending the appointment of a new president.
Pierre Gauthier had led Auxico as CEO and Executive Chairman since the company’s inception. Gauthier will remain a key part of the company as a director and remain CEO and Chairman of Central America Nickel. This leadership change announcement took some by surprise, but based on Kozak’s previous experience, it looks like a good fit for Auxico considering its long-term focus on its mineral rights in Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil. Kozak has a long history and deep understanding of South America’s rare earth industry and capital markets. Early in his career he built a reputation as an analyst of public companies in Colombia and for his regional reports on Colombia, Argentina, and other regions.
Later in his career, as VP of Arrow Exploration Corp, Kozak worked on analyzing and modeling asset potential of oil property acquisitions from an existing producer in Colombia. Kozak also has extensive consulting experience, working with clients from all over the world, including South America. The experience working in capital markets and rare earths should help Auxico navigate the complexities of the rare earths market.
At the same time Auxico also announced that they had appointed Melissa Sanderson, regular InvestorIntel contributor, to their Board of Directors. Sanderson is also a good fit for Auxico’s board of directors. For years she served as a senior diplomat and the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. She also has more than 30 years of experience in mining, business, and government relations. She currently is a Professor of Practice at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. As VP International at Freeport-McMoRan she coordinated Freeport’s environmental, social and governmental functions in Peru and Chile, as well as the DRC. Melissa is the recipient of numerous awards, including the U.S. State Department Superior Honor Award and inclusion in the Who’s Who of American Women Bankers. This experience will help Auxico drive operational improvements in both North America and the DRC.
As a recognized expert in ESG and founder of Ethically Sustainable Growth (ESG+), Sanderson can bring her extensive knowledge of local community and government relations to improving operations and sustainability to Auxico as the rare earth industry continues to navigate the complex and changing environmental requirements.
These new leadership positions could have a positive impact on how Auxico manages its extensive operations throughout the world. Kozak and Sanderson bring the extensive operational expertise and rare earth knowledge to Auxico that is needed to capitalize on their assets.