Board of Directors
NioCorp’s Board of Directors is comprised of distinguished and highly experienced leaders from a variety of sectors. You can see short biographies from all Board members below. To see information on NioCorp’s management team, go here.
Mark A. Smith
Board Chair, President and CEO
Mark Smith was named CEO and Executive Chairman of NioCorp in 2013. Prior to that time, he was an investor in the Company and became its single largest individual shareholder, which remains the case today. Mr. Smith has nearly 40 years of experience in the mining and mineral processing industries. Prior to NioCorp, he served as CEO and Director of Molycorp, Inc., where he was instrumental in reviving the Company’s rare earth mine and operating facility in southern California. He led the effort to take Molycorp public in 2010 with an NYSE listing and a market capitalization that grew to more than $6 billion by mid-2011. Prior to that, Mr. Smith was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chevron Mining Inc. and managed the real estate, remediation, mining and carbon divisions of Unocal Corporation for over 22 years. During his tenure with Chevron Mining Inc., Mr. Smith also served as a Director of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM), part of the Moreira Salles Group, a private company that currently produces approximately 85% of the world supply of Niobium. Mr. Smith also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of IBC Advanced Alloys, and Chairman of the Board of U.S. Vanadium, a private company. He served as the President and CEO of Largo Resources Ltd. from 2015 until 2019. Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Colorado State University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from Western State University, College of Law.
David C. Beling, P.E.
Mr. Beling is a Registered Professional Mining Engineer with 57 years of project and corporate experience and as a director on the boards of 14 mining companies starting in 1981, including NioCorp since 2011. D.C. Beling & Assoc., LLC currently provides strategic advisory and project consulting services. His previous employment and consulting included 14 years with five major mining companies and then 43 years with 30+ US and Canadian juniors. He was the President, CEO, and Director of Bullfrog Gold Corp. from 2011 until October 2020; and the Executive Vice President and COO of Geovic Mining Corp. from 2004 through 2010. Mr. Beling has examined, significantly reviewed, or been directly involved with 90 underground mines, 136 open pit mines and 174 process plants in the global metal, energy, and industrial mineral sectors.
A former senior executive at the world’s largest producer of niobium, Companhia Brasileira Metalúrgica e Mineração (“CBMM”), Ms. Fenga currently serves as a senior advisor to mining companies in Brazil and in the U.S. Previously, she was Legal and Compliance Director at Somos Educação, Brazil’s largest basic education company and one of the largest education groups in the world. Ms. Fenga worked for more than nine years at CBMM, where she served as Corporate Superintendent. In that position, she managed the company’s legal, compliance, investor relations, public affairs, and corporate risk management departments. Prior to CBMM, she was Senior Manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where she advised clients on corporate restructuring, tax planning, transfer pricing, auditing, tax assessment reviews, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance.
A Certified Compliance & Ethic Professional – International Exam (“CCEP-I”), Ms. Fenga is a Brazilian lawyer and received her Master’s Degree in Law at Fundação Getúlio Vargas – FGV and her LLM in Corporate Law at IBMEC. She also conducted post-graduate studies in tax law at IBET, completed the Harvard Business School’s program for Risk Management for Corporate Leaders, and recently completed the IBGC (“Instituto Brasileiro de Governança Corporativa”) studies for Board Members.
Michael J. Morris
Mr. Morris served as a director from 2001 to 2007 and as Chairman of the Board of Heritage Oaks Bancorp from 2007 to 2017 when it merged into Pacific Premier Bancorp. Mr. Morris currently serves on the Board of Directors of Pacific Premier Bancorp, an $11.5 billion regional bank. In addition, Mr. Morris is the senior principal and chairman of the board of Andre, Morris & Buttery, a professional law corporation. From 2000 to late 2006, Mr. Morris served on the board of Molycorp Inc., which at the time was a wholly owned subsidiary of Unocal and then Chevron. Mr. Morris was the only independent director of Molycorp at that time. Mr. Morris is a graduate of Georgetown University and received his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He has practiced business and environmental law for over 40 years. Mr. Morris served as a member of the Board of Governors and Vice President of the State Bar of California. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972.
A former Chief Financial Officer and Controller for global corporations in the technology, energy, and government sectors, Ms. Guerrero-Mahon provides consulting services to domestic and international corporations as the principal at NG Mahon Business Consulting, LLC, a business consulting service, a position she has held since 2008. In addition, Ms. Guerrero-Mahon currently serves on the Board of the State of Colorado Division of Securities. From 2016 to 2019 she served on the Board of Directors of Centura Health Mountains & North Denver Operating Group, the largest division in the Centura Health Care System. From 2014 to 2016, she served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chaired the Strategy Committee at St. Anthony Hospital, now a member of the Centura Health Mountains & North Denver Operating Group. From 2009 to 2017, Ms. Guerrero-Mahon served as a gubernatorial appointed Board Member of the State of Colorado Financial Services Commission. Among other prior positions, from 2005 to 2007, she was the Global Services Controller at Microsoft Corporation, overseeing internal controls and corporate finance activities. Ms. Guerrero-Mahon received an Executive MBA from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and a BS in Business Administration – Accounting from the Interamerican University in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is a Certified Public Accountant registered in the State of Colorado.
Anna Castner Wightman
A sixth generation Nebraskan and a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University, Ms. Wightman currently serves as Vice President of Government Relations for First National Bank in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to that, she worked for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and served in the U.S. Congress for former Congressman Bill Barrett and former Congresswoman Virginia Smith, both of whom represented the 3rd Congressional District of Nebraska. Anna serves on the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Nebraska 4H Foundation Board of Trustees, Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation Board of Trustees, Dundee Presbyterian Church Elder, and has served on other numerous nonprofit boards in Nebraska. She and her husband, Jack Wightman, live in Omaha and have two daughters.
Superalloy Blog Posts
As the U.S. looks to repair crumbling infrastructure systems, I expect to see more high-performance steels (HPS) used in structures like bridges because of the many powerful benefits they deliver. HPS steels containing a small amount of ferroniobium – which NioCorp plans to produce in southeast Nebraska at our Elk Creek Superalloy Materials Project once we are funded and in operation – are among the strongest and most durable steels on the market today.
If a $2 trillion U.S. infrastructure package is enacted, it could create a major, long-term demand boom for the critical minerals needed by infrastructure and advanced transportation systems, according to NioCorp’s CEO Mark Smith.
One global macro trend is highly likely to accelerate in the aftermath of COVID-19: increased investment in domestic materials supply chains as a means of reducing the reliance of Western nations on supply chains in developing nations. Asia’s dominance in many strategic supply chains has become painfully obvious since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.
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