Benoit La Salle was appointed President & CEO of Aya in April 2020. He has over 25 years’ experience in developing and operating responsible mining companies in West Africa based on community empowerment. In 1995, Mr. La Salle founded Canadian-based SEMAFO Inc., which grew from a junior explorer to a +250,000 ounce-per-year gold producer in West Africa, and established SEMAFO Foundation in 2008 to support its local communities. Since 2010, he has held board positions at six public companies in addition to founding three West African-focused exploration companies and one privately held power producer. An active contributor to the non-profit sector, Mr. La Salle is a former board director and chair of Plan International Canada and has been Chairman of the Board of The Canadian Council on Africa since 2013.
A Fellow Chartered Accountant, Benoit is also a member of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration degree from IMEDE, Switzerland.
Mustapha Elouafi was appointed to the role of General Manager-President of Aya Gold & Silver Morocco affiliates in April 2020.
Mr. Elouafi is a recognized mining executive with almost 30 years in mining and senior management in Morocco and MENA. Previously, Mr. Elouafi was Managing Director of OCP S.A., the world's largest producer of phosphate and phosphate-based products. In parallel, Mr. Elouafi served as president of various affiliates of OCP Group including OCP Africa where he managed major project initiatives in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Mustapha joined OCP in 1992 and progressed to senior operational leadership roles including manager of the world's largest phosphate processing hub in Jorf Lasfar-Morocco where he managed more than 4,500 employees. He has served on the board of directors of over a dozen international privately held companies and associations in the chemicals and fertilizers, shipping, and international trading sectors.
A graduate of the Mohammadia School of Engineering (EMI) in Morocco, Mr. Elouafi holds an Executive MBA from École des Ponts Business School in Paris.
Ugo Landry-Tolszczuk took up the position of Chief Financial Officer in May 2020. His involvement with Africa spans 10 years of his 15-year professional experience. Previously, Ugo was President and Chief Operating Officer of TSXV-listed SRG Mining. During this period, he headed up the company’s largest financing and advanced the company’s graphite project in Guinea from PEA to bankable feasibility study. Prior to joining SRG, Mr. Landry-Tolszczuk served as director of operations for Windiga Energy, which develops, owns, and operates renewable energy power plants in Africa. Ugo also brings experience from the technology industry, having previously worked at Research in Motion (today Blackberry), ATI Technologies (today AMD) and Distech Controls (today Acuity Brands).
A CFA charter holder, Ugo holds a bachelor’s degree of applied science in computer engineering, management science option, from the University of Waterloo.
In May 2020, Elias Elias was appointed Vice-President, Legal & Corporate Secretary. He brings with him 10 years of legal experience advising West African-focused companies in the mining and energy sectors. Before joining Aya, Elias served as Vice President, Corporate and Legal Affairs for SRG Mining Inc., a graphite exploration company based in Guinea; Vice-President, Legal and Corporate Affairs for Sama Resources Inc., a nickel-copper exploration company with an asset in Côte d’Ivoire; and as Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Windiga Energy Inc., an Africa-oriented renewable energy producer. Prior to that, he acted as legal advisor for SEMAFO, a TSX-listed gold producer in West Africa as well as for Gildan Activewear.
Elias holds a civil law degree (summa cum laude) and a common law degree (cum laude) from the University of Ottawa and is a recipient of the Canada SSHRC Graduate Scholarship. He articled with Hon. Judge Otis of the Quebec Court of Appeal and has been a member of the Barreau du Québec since 2007.
Marc-Antoine Audet is a geologist with over 30 years of experience, both in Canada and internationally (West Africa, Caribbean, Brazil, and New Caledonia), most of which were acquired with major mining companies such as Xstrata Nickel and Falconbridge Limited. He is also Chief Executive Officer for Sama Resources Inc., a TSXV-listed resource company exploring a nickel-copper project in Côte d’Ivoire. Marc-Antoine has led teams in the search for nickel, copper, cobalt, graphite, coltan, gold and silver and is well-versed in the environmental, health and safety and community aspects of exploration.
Dr. Audet obtained his Ph. D in geology / earth science from University of Quebec in Montréal (UQAM) and University of New Caledonia (U.NC).
Vice-President, Corporate Development & Investor Relations
During the course of his more than 15-year corporate finance career, Alex Ball has managed $5 billion in debt and equity financings and M&A transactions in mining with UBS Canada, CIBC World Markets, and BMO Capital Markets. Alex was also part the Active Equities Group with OMERS, a $100 billion AUM Pension Fund. Previously, he was Executive Vice-President, Finance & Corporate Development at Algold Resources.
In addition to earning an MBA majoring in finance from Toronto's Rotman School of Management, Alex holds a BA in Economics from McGill University.
Raphaël Beaudoin is responsible for overseeing Zgounder Silver Mine operations and developing other mining projects for the company in Morocco and abroad. With over 10 years of mineral processing experience, he has held roles leading operations, metallurgy, maintenance, and power generation across various operations and projects in West Africa and Canada. Prior to joining Aya, Raphaël was Vice-President, Operations, Metallurgy and Process Design at TSXV-listed SRG Mining and director of operations at TSXV-listed Sama Resources, two resource companies focused on West African projects. Before this, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Canadian Royalties Inc, with his last position as superintendent for its Nunavik Nickel plant concentrator.
Raphaël is a graduate of McGill University with a degree in materials engineering.