Our management team

Our management team

Champion Iron experts share a single mission:
responsible and carefully planned profitability

Michael O’Keeffe - Champion Iron

Michael O’Keeffe
Executive Chairman of the Board and CEO
Champion Iron Mines Limited

A metallurgist by training, Michael serves as executive chairman and chief executive officer of Champion Iron. His vast knowledge of the mining industry and its issues and his extensive experience managing large companies have given him an impressive track record of rock-solid achievements.

Riversdale Mining Limited (2004-2011)

As executive chairman, Michael drove the development of this Australian mining company, taking it from a junior company with a market capitalization of $7 million to a major company acquired by Rio Tinto for the staggering sum of $4 billion. During his tenure at Riversdale Mining, Michael raised nearly $780 million for the company.

Glencore Australie Limited (1995-2004)

As managing director, Michael was responsible for Glencore’s Australian acquisitions. Under his tutelage, company market share in Australia and South Asia increased exponentially, and sales exploded from $100 million to $2.4 billion.

Mount Isa Mines (1975-1994)

At Mount Isa, Michael rose with determination up to executive management level in commercial activities of this mining company in Queensland, Australia. His mandates included feasibility studies for copper smelting and pursuing refining opportunities in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.

Natacha Garoute
Chief Financial Officer

With nearly 20 years of finance experience as a CPA, Natacha has developed a strong focus on mining and corporations, with extensive international exposure. Thanks to her strong background in IFRS, public company reporting, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and West African OHADA regulations, Natacha demonstrated active leadership managing financial reporting, tax and budget functions in her previous position as CFO with Roxgold Inc.

She has also held senior finance positions at SEMAFO Inc., Canadian Railway, MDD and PWC. Natacha holds a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Quebec and a law degree from the University of Montreal.

David Cataford, <span>Eng.</span> - Champion Iron

David Cataford, Eng.
COO

David has a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from Laval University. He joined Champion Iron in October 2014. His vast knowledge of Quebec iron ore and issues related to mining activities in the Labrador Trough is a major asset to the company’s management team.

David held several management positions within Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., including key positions in their main iron ore deposit at Bloom Lake Mine in Fermont, Quebec.

At Bloom Lake, David played an important role in the management team, which increased drilling capacity by 80%, and he helped in the phase 1 expansion of the plant.

His experience in iron ore mining includes mineral characterization projects at Bloom Lake and for ArcelorMittal at Mont Wright, as well as adapting the recovery circuit to meet new customer demands.

David is currently president and cofounder of the North Shore and Labrador Mineral Processing Society.

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Jorge Estepa - Champion Iron

Jorge Estepa
Vice-President, Corporate Secretary – Canada

Jorge was vice-president and corporate secretary of Champion Iron Mines, Champion Iron’s wholly owned subsidiary, from 2006 to 2014. He has over 20 years experience in publicly traded Canadian companies, in business management, development and investor relations.

In addition to his duties at Champion Iron Mines, Jorge has held senior management positions in several publicly traded resource companies since 1995. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto.

Pradipkumar Devalia
Company Secretary – Australia

Mr Devalia joined Champion Iron Limited as Company Secretary in June 2014. Prior to joining Champion Iron Limited, Mr Devalia was a senior tax partner of PwC in Sydney and has expertise in the resources sector reporting to the Executive team and the Board of Directors of major multinational companies. Since leaving PwC, Mr Devalia has worked as a consultant to various companies, including Riversdale Mining Limited and Rio Tinto. Mr Devalia is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.