Our Leadership Team

The Capricorn Copper Board and Management Team are comprised of some of the most experienced operators in the Australian Copper Sector.

Board Members

Owen Hegarty


Owen is Executive Chairman of EMR Capital and has more than 40years experiencein the global mining industry, including 25 years with the Rio Tinto group where he was Managing Director of Rio Tinto Asia and Rio Tinto’s Australian copper and gold business from 1989 to 1994.

Owen was the founder and Managing Director of Oxiana Limited where he led the growth of Oxiana from a junior explorer to an A$6 billion Asia Pacific base and precious metals producer.

Owen is a Fellow and Former Director of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He is also an advisor on mining and resources generally to a number of Government and industry associations.

In 2006, Owen was awarded the AusIMM Institute Medal for his leadership and achievements in the mining industry, and in 2008 he was awarded the GJ Stokes Memorial Award for his distinguished service to the mining industry.

Ian Smith


Ian Smith has more than 35 years experience in the mining and resources industry and is a past Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Ian was Managing Director and CEO of Newcrest from 2006 to 2011, where, under his leadership, the company’s market capitalisation grew from US$4.5B to US$30B.

From 2011 to 2015, Ian was Managing Director and CEO of Orica and completed Orica’s transition to a mineral services company by selling the Chemicals Division to the Blackstone Group for $US750M, all the while maintaining the company’s margins and volumes through one of the most severe downturns in the resource industry customer base that had been seen in 50 years.

In addition, Ian has held many senior roles in significant Australian mining operations including Olympic Dam, Broken Hill Mines, Elura Mine and Comalco Aluminium Smelting.

Ian is a past President of the Australian Mines & Metals Association, a past Board Member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and winner of the 2011 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s Mining Medal, the Institutes highest award.

Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers and Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and is an advisor on mining and resources generally to various industry groups.

John Chomley


John is a chemical engineer with 25 years experience in the resources industry. The majority of the first 17 years were spent in operational, technical, business improvement and management roles in base metal processing operations. These roles focused on the development of new operations and the significant improvement of existing operations including roles as Metallurgical Superintendent of Aberfoyle Resource’s (Australian Stock Exchange listed), Mt Gordon copper operation and Smelter Operations Leader of the Tomago Aluminium Smelter.

John moved into an investments, mergers and acquisitions role with the expanding Oxiana Ltd. He later joined Tigers Realm Minerals Group in 2010 where as Head of Business Development he was an integral member of the team that established three commodity focused public companies - Tigers Realm Coal, Asiamet Resources (copper) and NexGen Energy (uranium). John was seconded to EMR in early 2015 on a full time basis, as a contractor, and was appointed as Investment Director at EMR in late 2015.

John has led cross functional teams to assess resource opportunities in many parts of the world including Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Russia and South America.

At Oxiana/OZ and Tigers Realm Group, John worked on the feasibility studies at Oxiana’s Martabe Gold Project, Tigers Realm Coal’s Amaam project and joint venture management at Asiamet Resources (which was formed through the merger of Kalimantan Gold and Tigers Realm Metals).

Management Team

Brett Fletcher

Chief Executive Officer

Brett is a qualified Mining Engineer (University of NSW) and brings more than 30 years’ experience in the metals and mining industry to Capricorn Copper.

His experience within the Australian base metal mining and smelting sector is significant and he has held multiple executive and senior management roles.

Brett has been Executive General Manager PNG Operations at Newcrest where he was responsible for the Morobe Mining JV, Gosowong and Lihir, Chief Operating Officer of MMG, Chief Operating Officer Zinifex/OZ Minerals, General Manager Hobart Zinc Smelter, General Manager Century Zinc Mine, General Manager Rosebery Copper Lead Zinc Mine and Manager UG Operations Broken Hill Zinc Mine. Brett is currently the Non-Executive Chairman of Red River Resources Ltd.

Stacey Apostolou

Finance Executive Officer

Ms Apostolou is a finance executive with significant experience acting as corporate Executive/Director and Company Secretary for a number of ASX listed mining companies over the past 30 years.

In these positions Ms Apostolou has been responsible for the corporate, treasury, finance, accounting and administration functions.

Ms Apostolou holds a Bachelor of Business Degree in Accounting and is a CPA.

David A’Izzeddin

Chief Geologist

David A-Izzeddin is a geologist with over 26 years experience in exploration, project assessment, feasibility studies, mine development and business development. He has worked across a broad range of commodities including gold, base metals, iron, uranium, phosphate and bauxite and has worked in Australia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North and South America.

David has held a number of operational and management positions and played a major role in the discovery and development of a several deposits including Mount Wright (1.05Moz Au), Nolans (0.63Moz Au) and Sarsfield (2.27Moz Au) in North Queensland, Tuvatu in Fiji (0.65Moz Au) and the recognition and initial drill testing of Carlin-style gold mineralisation in the Timok Region, Serbia, which led to the delineation of 2.4Moz Au by Avala Resources.

David also coordinated project generation activities for Xstrata Copper for five years, and was directly involved in the successful negotiation of project acquisitions and joint venture agreements within Australia and internationally.

David has worked extensively in the Mount Isa Inlier, and since joining Capricorn Copper in late 2015, has coordinated resource definition and exploration activities for the Capricorn Copper project.

Andrew Gilbert

Mining Manager

Andrew Gilbert has close to 15 years experience in the mining and tunnelling industry. Andrew commenced his professional career at Xstrata Copper Mount Isa Mine where he held various technical and operational positions. Following this, Andrew transitioned to the civil tunnelling industry and was instrumental in the successful delivery of the Airport Link tunnel in Brisbane.  In particular, Andrew introduced drill and blast into the tunnelling process to ensure the project met its deadlines and targets.

Upon completion of this project, Andrew returned to the mining industry as a Technical and Operational Superintendent in the Ernest Henry Mine Sub Level Cave Project, a $600m undertaking to transition to an underground sub-level cave option from an open pit operation and extend the life of operations by over ten years.

Andrew was an Operational Superintendent at Glencore Zinc George Fisher Mine prior to commencing as Mining Manager with Capricorn Copper in 2015. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Engineering Hons (Mining) and a Queensland First Class Underground Managers Certificate of Competency. 

Neala Gillespie

HSEC Manager

Neala Gillespie has more than 25 years experience in the mining industry in Australia and internationally in a range of minerals including copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, diamonds and uranium. Neala has broad experience across all aspects of health, safety, environment and community and has worked on projects from acquisition, exploration, development, construction, commissioning, operations and rehabilitation through to closure.

Neala was an integral part of the management team that developed Equinox Minerals' Lumwana Project in Zambia from 2005 to 2010 and was involved in the successful development of the project from early stages and satisfying a large multinational lender group on all sustainability issues to world bank and equator principles standards through to operations.

Neala was Group HSE Manager for a services company operating across 24 countries in Africa prior to commencing as HSEC Manager with Capricorn Copper in 2017. Neala holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and a Masters of Science in Occupational Health and Safety.