Paul Lush


An executive and lawyer with over 25 years’ experience at driving new business and legal initiatives for FSTE 100 companies (or overseas equivalent) in the infrastructure and mining businesses, Paul is an experienced international negotiator, who has managed major acquisitions & disposals of quoted and non-quoted companies, as well as corporate restructurings. Paul has spent much of his career in mining companies, including 12 years at Rio Tinto where he did his MBA at London Business School, and subsequently as Group General Counsel at BHP Billiton where he played a leading role in the $36 billion merger between Billiton and BHP.


Between 2003 and 2012, Paul was also a non-executive director of European Nickel/ENK, an emerging mid-tier nickel laterite producer focused on growth with assets in Turkey, the Philippines and Albania. ENK developed an innovative, low cost, environmentally sensitive heap leach technology, which offered a competitive edge over conventional nickel laterite processing. As Non-Executive Director and pre-listing shareholder of European Nickel, Paul participated in the team that successfully floated the company on AIM in March 2004. Throughout Paul’s 10 years at European Nickel, Mike Oxley and Anne Oxley, now respectively MD and Technical Director of Brazilian Nickel Ltd (BRN) (see below) were colleagues in that company and a key part of the technical team.


As well as being Executive Chairman of BRN, Paul is currently part-time chairman of Churchill Natural Resources, an oil and gas boutique where he leads a highly experienced team in advising major investment funds on acquisitions in that part of the natural resources sector

Mike Oxley

Managing Director

Mike is a chartered mining engineer with over 20 years’ experience in the mining industry and has extensive nickel laterite project development experience. In 1999 Mike began work with European Nickel as its project manager completing concept studies for the application of heap leaching technology to the Albanian nickel laterite deposits. Mike then led the Çaldağ Feasibility in Turkey which included start-up of a profitable direct shipped ore mining operation and the successful completion of the Bankable Feasibility Study which help secure US$ 360 M of debt and equity investment to build the project. He then oversaw initial construction activities at the project before leading the Acoje nickel laterite heap leach project pre-Feasibility Study in the Philippines. This was completed in 2008 when he then became European Nickel’s Business Development Manager.


Following the merger of European Nickel with its joint venture partner at Acoje and the company’s decision to focus on development of that project, Mike left to set up Alyssum Ventures to build a new company dedicated to nickel laterite heap leaching.


Mike has visited and studied over 20 of the known nickel laterite projects in the world in Indonesia, the USA, Russia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, the Philippines, New Caledonia, Kazakhstan and Poland.


Mike has worked extensively in Latin and South America including projects in Surinam, Chile and Mexico.

Luciano Ramos

Chief Operating Officer

A Brazilian National, Based in Brazil and a mining engineer with over 32 years’ experience, Luciano is well-known in London and Brazilian mining circles. He was most recently COO with London Mining PLC where he was instrumental in achieving the sale of London Mining’s Brazilian iron assets for a profit of USD 664 million, a 1200% return of the initial capital invested.


Earlier Luciano worked for Vale S.A. between 1992 and 2007 in various senior roles including General Manager in charge of non-ferrous metals project development and General Manager in charge of implementation of the 36,000 tpa, US$ 231 million, 118 Copper Project (Heap Leaching);


Luciano has an MBA in Strategic Business Management and has successfully completed management courses at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and from IMD in Lausanne. Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Luciano brings a wealth of local Brazilian knowledge and operations and project management expertise to BRN as well as a proven track record of successful project implementation.

Anne Oxley

Technical Director

Anne is chartered metallurgical engineer from the Royal School of Mines she has over 20 years’ experience in the natural resources sector.


She worked with European Nickel from 2003 until 2010 where she was the driving force behind nickel laterite heap leaching development. She ran the Turkish Çaldağ demo plant and set up the team to do the same at the Acoje project in the Philippines.


In November 2010 Anne left European Nickel to co-found Alyssum Ventures Ltd (AVL) to further develop and commercialise the nickel laterite heap leaching technology.


Anne is a scientific associate of the natural history museum in London where she is involved with fundamental research in nickel and cobalt hydrometallurgy.

Mark Smith

Non-Executive Director

Mark has been working in heap leaching, tailings management, geotechnical engineering and project/study management since 1979, and in Ni heap leaching since 2005. Mark has worked on 17 nickel laterite projects (worldwide). He is recognized as one of the leading geotechnical engineers in the heap leach industry. His key clients include BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vale, Xstrata, European Nickel, and the major EPCM firms (Fluor, Bechtel, Aker, Hatch, SNC Lavalin). Mark is a registered civil, geotechnical and structural engineer; he has published dozens of papers in the field and has taught engineering short courses through universities in 8 countries.


He was the founding principal and manager of Vector Engineering, Inc., building it from inception to a team of 500 people working in offices in the USA, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia, before selling the company in 2008.


Mark is a director of several US based companies, he also a director of Alyssum Ventures.

Omar Caceres

BRN’s General Manager for Project Development
Piauí Nickel Project’s Project Manager.

Omar is a Metallurgical Engineer with extensive experience in the mining industry through working in operations, engineering design and construction with a solid background in finance, cost control, performance management, risk assessment, growth option studies and project management.


During the last 12 years, Omar has been very actively leading the technology development, technical implementation and business evaluation for the implementation of heap leaching technology applied to low-grade nickel laterites and chalcopyrite dominant ores for some of the industry leaders.

Developing low cost nickel and cobalt production in Brazil