Directors and Management
Julien Balkany – Co-Founder and Chairman
Mr. Balkany has been serving since 2008 as a managing partner of Nanes Balkany Partners, a group of investment funds which primarily pursues active value investments in natural resources companies. Mr. Balkany is currently Chairman of Panoro Energy ASA, a Norwegian oil and gas company focused on West Africa. He has been a director of Norwegian Energy Company ASA (Noreco), a Norwegian oil and gas company focused on the North Sea. Mr. Balkany has also been a director and Vice-Chairman of Gasfrac Energy Services Inc., a Canadian oil and gas fracking services company. Mr. Balkany served as Vice-Chairman of Toreador Resources Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in Continental Europe (France, Turkey, Hungary and Romania). Mr. Balkany has also extensive expertise in investment banking, M&A and emerging markets capital markets .Mr. Balkany studied at the Institute of Political Studies (Strasbourg) and at UC Berkeley.
Marc Sengès – Co-Founder and CEO
Mr. Sengès is currently a Managing Director at Sarmin Mining group (www.sarmingroup.com) through which he manages a recently acquired Potash exploration mining license in the Republic of Congo. Prior to co-founding Sarmin Mining Group, Mr. Senges was from 2012 to 2016 the Group Managing Director for OGAS Solutions SA, a leading services group dedicated to Oil & Gas and Mining industry worldwide and offering technical assistance, staffing & recruitment, training and field operation services. From 2009-2012, Mr. Sengès was the CFO of NYSE/Euronext-listed Toreador Resources Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in Continental Europe (France, Turkey, Hungary and Romania). He has served in many roles in the natural resources sector, including as a Member of the Board and General Counsel to Progisys International, CFO and Board Member of TSX-listed Cuban oil and gas exploration company Pebercan Inc., and as CFO / Member of the Board at Euronext-listed Maurel et Prom. Mr. Sengès started his career in the banking sector, working at Crédit Lyonnais, Natexis Banque Populaire, and HSBC in their commodities finance departments. Mr. Sengès holds degrees in finance and law from Paris II, Paris II-Assas, and Paris V.
James Ward – Co-Founder, CFO and Corporate Secretary
Mr. Ward is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Company Secretary. Mr. Ward is currently acting as CFO of Hannam & Partners LLP, a financial advisory firm focused on natural resource sector transactions. Mr. Ward has significant experience in advising publicly listed mining companies, including acting as executive management including IMIC Plc, an African iron ore company and of Global Coal Limited whose shareholders include Glencore, BHP-Billiton, Anglo American and Rio Tinto. He has experience of African transactions. Mr. Ward was until its sale in 2012 to a FTSE100, the founder and CEO of Whale Rock Accounting Limited; a firm of chartered accountants specialising in advising independent mining & oil and gas companies.
Benoit Magrina – Co-Founder and Vice-President for Exploration
Mr. Magrina is the Exploration Director of CAISI Tchad where he has managed the technical work concerning multiple gold assets, including having conducted cartography, SIG, structural analysis , and geochemical. Simultaneously, Benoit is the Technical Director and Co-founder of ULC Afrique de l’ouest, a geological, geophysical, and drilling company based in Niamey, Niger. Mr. Magrina has managed technical programs on various projects across multiple jurisdictions. These projects entailed the supervision of uranium exploration in Niger, Mauritania, and Canada; gold exploration in Ghana, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Niger, and Tchad; base metal exploration in Turkey, Guinea, and Mongollia; emerald exploration in Madagascar; and diamonds in Guinea. He was previously the Project Director for Africa Middle East Resources, a company with a titanium and iron development asset in Guinea (2011-2012). He was also the Exploration Manager at Sky Alliance Resources (iron, gold, and diamonds) in Guinea from 2010-2011. Mr. Magrina started his career at AREVA where he worked in the Department of New Projects, and as a geologist in the COGEGOBI uranium project in Mongolia. Mr. Magrina holds a Masters degree in Earth Sciences from UQAM Montréal-CREGU, Nancy.
Stéphane A. Rigny
Mr. Rigny has over 20 years of experience in originating, structuring, funding and developing industrial and natural resource projects exclusively in Africa. Mr. Rigny is the CEO and founder of the Sarmin Group, a Toronto based private equity investment company focusing on the development of high value added resources, infrastructure and energy projects in Africa. The Sarmin Group has recently secured ca. USD25m in capital and acquired a Potash exploration mining license in the Republic of Congo that is currently under development. The Sarmin Group has also recently acquired a participation in Spanish based AEE POWER CORPORATION SL an energy EPC and Developer with over USD200m in signed and funded projects under execution. From 2005 to 2010 Mr. Rigny created and successfully sold Surestream Petroleum, a sub-Saharan E&P company. From 2004 through to 2013 Mr. Rigny assumed first the role of senior VP and later of President of MagIndustries Corp, a Toronto listed mining company. Prior to joining MagIndustries Corp. Mr. Rigny was based in Johannesburg as VP Francophone Africa in the Project Finance division of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), the South African Bank. Mr. Rigny holds an MBA in Finance from HEC Montréal.