Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Dr. John Halkyard

Dr. John Halkyard, Chairman, is an Ocean Engineer and active in deep ocean projects involving mining and oil & gas since the late ’60s.  He was the Director of the Ocean Mining Laboratory for the Kennecott Manganese Nodule Consortium in the 1970s and led the successful mining system development effort.

From 1988 – 2000 he was Technical Director for the Deep Oil Technology, Inc., which successfully developed and commercialized a proprietary deep water oil and gas platform, the “Spar”. From 2000 – 2007 he served as the Vice President R&D and Chief Technical Adviser for Aker Maritime, Inc. which was acquired by Technip, the world’s largest energy engineering and project service company.

Dr. Halkyard holds an ScD degree in Ocean Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mr. Hans Smit
President and CEO

Mr. Hans Smit, President and Chief Executive Officer, has 20 years of worldwide underwater mining and subsea engineering, operations, and management experience.

He was President of Neptune Minerals, Inc. from 2015 to 2017.He served as Managing Director of IHC MMP focused on providing services to the underwater mining industry worldwide. Prior to this, Mr. Smit was the Projects Director of Marine and Mineral Projects (Pty) Ltd a company specializing in providing the subsea diamond mining industry engineering and operation solutions.

He has designed, developed, implemented, and optimized numerous underwater mining systems, in particular, the crawler technology being used by De Beers Crawler for subsea diamond mining.

Mr. David S. Huber
SVP Business Development

Mr. David S. Huber, SVP Business Development, 45 years of offshore oil & gas experience in the GOM and internationally, all with exploration and production companies.

Dave started his career as a subsea drilling engineer at Exxon and then moved onto the North Sea for 11 years with Hamilton Oil Company where he held the positions of Chief Engineer, Manager: Planning and Economics and finally Production Manager.  Dave went on to co-found two deepwater E&P companies in the GOM: Mariner Energy, which had a successful IPO on the NYSE and then bought by Apache Corporation for $4 billion, and Deep Gulf Energy, which was sold to Kosmos Energy for $1.25 billion.

He retired in 2017 as Sr. VP Operations and Projects. He serves on the board of Ocean Minerals and Neptune Minerals, both deepwater mining companies, Respinnovation a French medical device company and Subsea Infrastructure LLC, an offshore financing company.

Mr. Jack Lifton

Mr. Jack Lifton, is a consultant, author, and lecturer on the market fundamentals of the technology metals, the term that he coined to describe those strategic rare metals whose electronic properties make our technological society possible. These include the rare earths, lithium, and most of the rare metals.

He is educated as a physical chemist, specializing in high-temperature metallurgy, advising both original equipment manufacturers (OEM), high tech industry and the global institutional-investment community on the natural resource issues that impact either a proposed business model or a high-volume manufacturing plan for the mass market. He is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.

Mr. Karl Winter

Mr. Karl Winter has over 34 years of experience in deep-water subsea equipment and specialized projects focused on the offshore oil and gas industry.

Karl has managed and worked on numerous deep-water projects around the world.  He is the founder and CEO & President of the international offshore engineering company, Ocean Flow International.  He has also founded and owns several other equipment and capital companies. Education includes Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (Ocean Engineering) (Msc), Bachelor of Science (Engineering) (Bsc Honors), Diploma in Ocean Engineering, and a Diploma in Production Engineering

Karl is also a long time helicopter pilot.