Benzu Minerals Team


Cesare Morelli

Technical Director
Born in Italy, Cesare lived his first 11 years in the DRC (then Zaïre) before moving to Belgium where he completed his university studies (Honours in Geology) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1986.

He was offered a position as exploration geologist at De Beers in South Africa in 1987. With De Beers, with whom he stayed 18 years, he gained vast and valuable experience in diamond exploration in two African regions, key for their mineral endowment: West Africa, where he led the exploration programmes in Guinea, Mauritania, Algeria, as well as in Central Africa, where he managed operations in Gabon, CAR and DRC.

Cesare then became the regional exploration manager, Africa, for BHP Billiton between 2005 and 2009. At BHPB he directed and managed teams involved in the exploration and development of some world-class deposits: bauxite and iron ore in Guinea, manganese in Gabon, copper in Katanga (DRC), potash in Ethiopia.

Presently and since 2009 Cesare has fulfilled the role of technical director at Benzu and has been involved in the exploration and development of several world-class projects such as Rainbow REE, the first REE producing mine in Africa, Rubicon-Helicon, the first Li producing mine in Namibia, a series of Au, Fe, Cu-Co, and REE exploration ventures in countries like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Togo, DRC, Zambia.

During his 30 years in minerals exploration in Africa, Cesare has negotiated and concluded many agreements (JV’s, Mining Conventions, MoU’s) with a variety of international and African entities, private and public.

Thanks to his knowledge of languages (he is perfectly trilingual: English, French and Italian) he has a very deep understanding of African politics and cultures and the intricacies of doing business in Africa.

Dr Salif Napon

Chief Geologist
Salif is a Burkina Faso national. He completed his PhD in applied geology in 1988 at the Université de Besançon, France. In the first years of his career, Salif worked for the Burkina Geology Survey and worked for junior gold exploration companies in Burkina Faso.

In 1994 he joined Anglo American Corp. where he occupied the positions of project geologist and exploration manager for various gold and base metals projects in West Africa (namely in Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo) and in South Africa, as well for copper-cobalt projects in Katanga, DRC. Between 2003 and 2005 Salif joined AngloGold Ashanti in Mali, after which he became an independent consultant and mainly worked in gold prospecting projects in Burkina Faso and Mali for Canadian Juniors.

Between 2006 and 2009 Salif worked at BHP Billiton as exploration manager and directed Iron Ore projects in Guinea and Liberia, bauxite in Guinea and copper and base metals in Katanga, DRC.

He joined Benzu in the role of Chief Geologist in 2009 and has since been involved in the assessment, exploration and development of a variety of projects in several African countries, the main ones being: gold in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, copper and cobalt in DRC, iron ore in Togo and Gabon, phosphate in Mali and lately lithium in Namibia.

Salif brings over 30 years of experience in minerals exploration in Africa and a wealth of connections and relations throughout Africa. He is fluent in French and English as well in West African dialects.

Uswege Seme

Exploration Manager
Uswege is a Tanzanian national. He initiated his geology studies at the University of Dar-es Salaam, but he completed his Honours degree in geology at the Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 1997.

His career now spans some 26 years, most of it with De Beers in diamond exploration (1993-2008), mostly in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Gabon, DRC and RSA. He joined BHP Billiton in 2008 where he managed diamond, manganese and nickel exploration projects respectively in DRC, Gabon and Burundi.

He joined Benzu in 2010 to fulfil a role of Exploration Manager in projects in Tanzania (Au), DRC (Cu-Co), Togo (Fe) and Uganda (REE). Besides his very deep knowledge of diamond exploration, Uswege brings a very significant, practical experience in executing exploration programmes in tough physical and operating African environments.

Uswege is fluent in English and Swahili and has a good working knowledge of French.

Dr Medard Mungiya Kubanza

Chief Geophysicist
Medard was born in DRC. After completing his Honours degree at the University of Kinshasa, DRC, Medard received a scholarship from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Monbusho Japanese Government, and then moved to Japan to complete a post-graduate diploma in seismology, followed by a Master (2003) and a PhD (2006) at the Tohoku University.

Medard has spent the first 10 years of his professional career in academic research and has published numerous papers. Originally a seismic and electrical imaging specialist, he has acquired geophysical exploration skills and experience, applying a comprehensive array of geophysical methods, first at BHP Billiton and since 2011 with Benzu.

In the past 16 years Medard has directed and managed geophysical exploration programmes, both airborne and ground based, leading to the discovery of gold deposits (Tanzania and Ethiopia), iron ore (Togo and Gabon), copper (DRC), tin and tungsten (Rwanda), Rare Earth Elements (Burundi and Uganda) and lately lithium (Namibia).

Medard’s scientific rigour applied to exploration geophysics together with his capability to work in African environments make Medard a very special African geophysical expert. Medard is perfect trilingual – French, English and Japanese – over and above his fluency in Congolese dialects.

Lloyd McPatie

Financial Director
Lloyd is a South African national. Before joining Benzu Minerals in July 2014 as financial director, he worked as CFO at Ubu Holdings between 2010 and 2012 and at the SA Dept. of Public Enterprises between 2007 and 2010 in the role of Chief Financial Analyst and Deputy Director General.

Additionally, Lloyd has spent 6 years (1999 to 2005) at De Beers, Africa Exploration, as cost & management accountant and these years have allowed him to gain very pertinent experience in the financial management of a minerals exploration venture. Before joining De Beers, he spent 10 years in the automotive industry in the financial and supply chain management fields.

Lloyd has completed a National Diploma in Cost and Management Accounting at the Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) and has also attained a BCOMPT Accounting Sciences Degree at the University of South Africa.

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