Board and Management

John Passalacqua, Int’l MBA
CEO and Director

John Passalacqua is an international business strategist with over 35 years of extensive technology and capital markets experience. In 1998, John gained the title of a top 50 international business strategist on the early internet. He is involved in private and public market planning for companies in nascent, visionary industries. John has lived in Quebec and is fluently bilingual.

Laurence W. Zeifman, CPA

Laurence W. Zeifman is an audit partner of Zeifmans LLP, a mid-sized Toronto public accounting firm. Larry has four decades of experience in public accounting and serves as chair of Nexia Canada, the Canadian division of the eighth largest international accounting network. He is also former Director of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club / former Alternate Governor of the National Hockey League.

Bennett Kurtz
CFO and Director

Bennett Kurtz is principal of Kurtz Financial Group. He has experience in financing public companies and taking private companies public. Bennett has multi-faceted business experience in finance, management, sales, marketing and administrative functions including business analysis, public business unit segmentation, internal and external analytics.

Gilles Laverdière, P. Geo
Chief Geologist

Gilles Laverdiere is a geologist with more than 40 years of experience in mining exploration. Gilles has planned and supervised drilling projects in Quebec and elsewhere. He was President and CEO of HMZ Metals Inc. Gilles has served as a senior executive and board member of many public mining companies and is a member of the Ordre des Géologues du Québec.

Armand MacKenzie
Vice President, Government Relations

Armand MacKenzie was raised in traditional Innu territory. He has practiced law for 15 years and was chief legal advisor on land rights for the Innu Nation. He was special advisor/negotiator on the drafting and adoption of the UN General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He has negotiated numerous impact benefit agreements. He has been a mining executive for the last 15 years.

David Dufour

David Dufour
Manager, Public Relations

David Dufour has over 30 years experience in the development and the management of high-growth businesses in Saguenay, Quebec. He has worked as land surveyor, project manager and director of economic development. He also worked in economic development for the Government of Quebec. David specializes in the areas of eco-responsibility and local governance issues.

Marc Branson
Independent Director

Marc Branson is president of CapWest Investments. Throughout his career, Marc has founded and grown companies in multiple sectors including mining, industrials, manufacturing, marketing, and consumer electronics. Marc currently serves on a number of public and private companies. He provides management and strategic guidance.

Advisory Board

Peter Kent

Peter Kent was an international broadcast journalist, reporter, producer (CTV, CBC, NBC, Monitor, Global) for four decades. Elected to Canadian Parliament in 2008, Peter served in the Department of Foreign Affairs as Minister of State for the Americas, and as Environment Minister. He oversaw improvements to the environmental assessment of resource projects and responsible resource development.

Dr. Peir Pufahl, P. Geo

Dr. Peir Pufahl is professor of Earth Science at Queen’s University, Canada, and co-director of the Queen’s Facility for Isotope Research. He is an internationally recognized expert on the geology of phosphorites. Dr. Pufahl and his team have developed state-of-the-art phosphorite exploration models and fine-tuned production strategies. Dr. Pufahl is a Fellow of both the Society of Economic Geologists and the Geological Society of America.

Isobel Sheldon, OBE

Isobel Sheldon, OBE, is a 20 year veteran of the Lithium Ion battery industry. She was awarded an OBE from HM the Queen for long service to EV battery development. She was ranked 37th in OutAtWork top 50 LGBT executives in the UK. She has held senior strategy, technical, business and executive roles with Britishvolt, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Cummins Electrified Power and Johnson Matthey.

Yves Caprara

Yves Caprara is an international expert in purified phosphoric acid technologies and their applications with focus on sustainability. He was CEO of Prayon SA, Europe’s largest producer of food and technical grade phosphoric acid. Yves ran operations in Europe, the United States, Canada, China, India, Brazil and Morocco. Board member of the International Fertilizer Association from 2015-2020.

Paul Pitman, P. Geo

Paul Pitman is a registered professional geologist who has over 50 years’ experience as exploration geologist, as corporate officer of mining companies and as geological consultant. He is a former director/officer of several junior resource companies that he founded including three fertilizer companies: Pueblo Potash Inc., Murdock Mt. (phosphate) and Boreal Agrominerals (mineral soils).

Karl Trudeau

Karl Trudeau is a senior corporate operations professional who has built several mining companies from the ground up. He is especially active in the battery metals space having contributed to the success of Imerys Graphite, Carbone Canada and Nouveau Monde Graphite. Mining companies have witnessed major increases in their market capitalization when Karl has taken over as acting COO.

Ford Nicholson

Ford Nicholson is a Managing Partner and founder of Kepis & Pobe Financial Group. Over the past 25 years, Mr. Nicholson has invested in and provided executive management to multiple international projects in the traditional energy and renewable energy sectors. Mr. Nicholson is the former deputy chairman of the board of InterOil Corporation before its sale to ExxonMobil.  Ford is also a former member of the President’s council of the International Crisis Group.

Bernard Lapointe

Bernard Lapointe founded Arianne Phosphate in 1997 and was president of the company until 2013. Bernard holds a Ph.D. in mineral resources from the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC). Prior to Arianne Phosphate, he was director of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Mining Fund. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of several public companies in the resource and fertilizer sectors.

Industry Partners

Dr. Sandeep Banerjee

Dr. Sandeep Banerjee – Queen’s University

Dr. Sandeep Banerjee has over 16 years of global experience in the mineralogical and geochemical study of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, including phosphorites. Dr. Banerjee is an expert in applying advanced analytical techniques to understand rock record. Sandeep works with the SGS team on providing deep minerological data to inform their advanced extraction techniques.

Dominique Lascelles

Dominique Lascelles – SGS Canada 

SGS is a leading global technical service provider conducting precise and accurate testing across numerous industries. Dominique is focused on separation and recovery of titanium, phosphate and iron found within First Phosphate ores as well as implementation and management of the eventual First Phosphate concentration pilot plant.

Eugene Puritch

Eugene Puritch – P&E Mining Consultants Inc.  

P&E Mining Consultants Inc. provides geological, mine engineering and Mineral Resource Estimate technical reports, Preliminary Economic Assessments and Pre-Feasibility Studies. P&E is affiliated with major consulting firms for joint venture/Feasibility Studies. P&E’s 20 associates author 400+ NI 43-101 technical reports on phosphate/potash, most metallic deposits.

Port Saguenay

The Port of Saguenay is a natural gateway to Northern Quebec and its extensive natural resources. First Phosphate’s MoU with the Port of Saguenay provides guaranteed deep sea access to the world as well as an industrial footprint at the port to build out advanced processing operations and LFP battery related partnerships on a global scale.

 Hugues Guérin Tremblay – Laurentia Exploration 

Laurentia Exploration is at team of nearly 60 professional geologists and employees based in Jonquière, Québec in close proximity to First Phosphate land claims. Laurentia offers exploration, prospecting and mapping services, drilling campaign support and management, geo-scientific compilation and 3D modeling.

Carl Côté – Groupe Conseil Nutshimit-Nippour

Groupe Conseil Nutshimit-Nippour has expertise in the fields of environmental protection, land use planning, biology (fauna, flora, wetland and aquatic habitats), social impacts, geomatics, GPS and bathymetric surveys and forestry. The group has offices in Mashteuiatsh, Saguenay and on the Côte-Nord in close proximity to First Phosphate land claims.

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