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. David S. Huber

SVP Business Development

Mr. David S. Huber, SVP Business Development, has 43 years deepwater oil and gas experience in 13 countries, all with oil exploration and production companies.  He joined Exxon and became Deepwater Engineering Supervisor before moving to the North Sea in 1981.

He joined Hamilton Brothers Oil Company as Chief Engineer where he was responsible for two floating production units and four large fixed platforms. After two years with the South African National Oil company, he co-founded Mariner Energy where he held the position of Sr VP Deepwater. The company found significant oil and gas in the deepwater GOM and had a successful IPO on the NYSE. In 2006, Mr. Huber joined with two other Mariner Energy executives to start Deep Gulf Energy ( He retired in 2016.

Mr. Huber is on the board of Deep Gulf Energy, Neptune Minerals, Ocean Minerals, LLC and Respinnovation, a French medical appliance manufacturer.

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. Hans Smit


Mr. Hans Smit, Director and Chief Operating 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. 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.

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