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 Limited and 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.

Miles Nagamatsu, <span>CA.</span> - Champion Iron

Miles Nagamatsu, CA.
Chief Financial Officer – Toronto

Miles is a chartered accountant with a bachelor of commerce degree from McMaster University. He joined Champion Iron Mines, Champion Iron’s wholly owned subsidiary, as chief financial officer in March 2006. With over 30 years experience in accounting, management, lending, reorganizations and turnarounds, Miles has many achievements in the financial domain.

Since 1993, Miles has served as chief financial officer in public and private companies, primarily in mining exploration and investment management. For over 25 years, he has served as volunteer treasurer and director for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

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.

Beat Frei - Champion Iron

Beat Frei
Head of Business Development and Finance

Beat joined Champion Iron in October 2012 as director of project finance. Over the course of his career Beat has held positions in several fields, including corporate finance and project/infrastructure finance.

Prior to serving as a financial advisor to the commodities sector in 2000, Beat held various positions with Crédit Suisse/CSFB (vice-president) and UBS AG (manager) for over 20 years.

More recently, Beat greatly contributed to the upgrade of several steel and metal plants in the Middle East and CIS countries. In addition, he was chief financial officer for Klöckner & Co., a leading steel distribution company is Germany.

Beat worked for global steel traders such as Duferco SA in Switzerland and Balli Group in the United Kingdom. He was also an advisor to SMS Demag AG in Germany, one of the main equipment makers for the steel industry.

Moreover, Beat served as chief financial officer for OOO Enisey in Russia. The entity transformed into an integrated oil company by building the northernmost refinery in the world, in Usinsk.

With Beat’s significant input, projects which were developed and completed had a value of over US$2 billion, mainly financed with debt instruments.

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. He also serves on the board of Canadian Mineral Processors.

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