Executive Management

Executive Management

Dr. John Halkyard

President and Chairman

Dr. John Halkyard, President, is an Ocean Engineer and active in deep ocean projects involving mining and oil & gas since the late 1960’s. 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

Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Hans Smit, 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. 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 (www.deepgulfenergy.com). 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.


Ms. Laurie Meyer

Chief Projects Officer

Ms. Laurie Meyer, Chief Projects Officer, has over 30 years of experience in aerospace and marine engineering. She led the Deep Reach Technology team as Principal Investigator for the US Army Research Labs funded cooperative research project to assess the economic viability of a deep sea based new source for Rare Earth Elements.

Prior to joining DRT in 2013 she was Chief Technologist for offshore renewables projects at Lockheed Martin Corporation and led the multi-contractor engineering team funded by the US Naval Facilities Command to design small and large-scale Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plants and prototype key enabling technology. Ms. Meyer was also responsible for internal R&D projects and technology insertion planning in her role as Chief Technologist. She served as Chief Engineer and Systems Integrator for a wide range of other programs at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman (space, air and ground), after beginning her career as an analyst at Hughes Aircraft and Lead Systems Engineer at Martin Marietta.

Laurie holds a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Dr. Colin Seaborn

Chief Metallurgist

Dr Colin Seaborn, Chief Metallurgist, has broad metallurgical and business analysis experience in the mineral processing industry. This included over 20 years with CRA (now Rio Tinto) in base metals, gold and coal covering both operations and project development as well as project evaluation for CRA Group Executives.

Subsequently, he has assisted mineral exploration companies to set up initial metallurgical testing and project evaluation for base metals and gold projects in Australia and Namibia. He has organised metallurgical testing and evaluated on-shore processing options for Neptune Minerals’ various underwater base metal and gold prospects in the south west Pacific. As well as his work in the mineral industry, he has, through his own consulting company, conducted organisation improvement projects in various sectors including manufacturing and waste management.

He has a PhD in metallurgy from the University of NSW and an MSc in mineral economics from Macquarie University.

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