Executive Management

Executive Management

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 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
President and Chief Executive Officer

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, has 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.

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 organized 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.