Meet Our People

The Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) is a not-for-profit organization based out of Victoria, BC, Canada. We are global experts leading the transformation to an environmentally sound, socially responsible, and formalized artisanal gold mining sector.

Our global team has extensive field knowledge and direct experience with Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining communities worldwide. We have decades of experience in the areas of business, sustainable development, social responsibility, governance, environment, health, geology, geospatial analysis, gold markets, and mercury science. We work with miners, government, and industry. Our diversity is our strength.

Founding Members

Dr. Kevin Telmer, PhD

Founder, Advisor

Victoria Head Office Staff

Rene Roger Tissot, MA, MBA

Executive Director

Ping Zhao, CPA, CA

Director of Finance and Administration

Scott Gryba, P.Eng., P.Geo., MBA

International Finance Specialist

Douglas Kao, BASc

Global Operations Manager

Abel Ouedraogo, MSc

Exploration Geologist, Project Manager (Burkina Faso)

Ryan Painter, BA

Communications and Public Relations Manager

Olena Redkina

Senior Bookkeeper

Karina Canevaro, M.Ed., M.P.M.

 Senior Administrative Assistant

National Project Managers and Country Staff

Altanbagana Bayarsaikhan

National Project Manager
Based in Mongolia

Saidou Kabre, MA

National Project Manager
Based in Burkina Faso

Daniel Merino, MSc

National Project Manager, Based in Peru

Abigail Ocate

National Project Manager
Based in the Philippines

Vasquez Ramdas

National Project Coordinator 
Based in Guyana

Renata Anderson

Information and Reporting Officer
Based in Guyana


Peter Rosenbluth, MSc


Mareike Kroll, PhD



Brad Van Den Bussche, PGeol

Business Development Consultant

Anupama Ariyaratne, PhD


Hans Erasmus, MSc

Business Finance Specialist

Shawn Blore

Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Expert
Based in Canada and Brazil

Agni Pratama

Based in Indonesia

Paul Cordy, PhD

Based in Canada and Peru

Jennifer O’Neill, MSc

Research Scientist

Dr. Kevin Telmer, PhD - Director of Innovation and Business Development

Kevin received his PhD from the University of Ottawa in Geochemistry and held a tenured Professorship at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria from 1999 until 2011 before taking the lead position at the Artisanal Gold Council. He started his work in artisanal mining in 1995 in the Brazilian Amazon and in the following 20 years has worked in numerous countries across three continents. He has extensive experience in technical, policy, and business capacities in the field with miners, governments, international institutions, and industry. He has become a world renowned expert and a voice on the international stage with numerous publications on the issue, including authoring the global estimate on mercury use in artisanal gold mining used to negotiate the Minamata Convention.

Creating sustainable business opportunities for investors and the bullion and jewelry markets while improving the economics, health and environment of miners and their communities in collaboration with governments is a direction that Dr. Telmer brings to the council. A primary goal is to increase responsible artisanal gold production to volumes that are significant relative to the size of the burgeoning sector.

Rene Roger Tissot, MA, MBA – Executive Director

Roger brings extensive experience working in extractive industries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, with emphasis on local content development, and governance issues. Roger holds an M.A. in Economics from Universite Laval, Quebec, and an MBA from the University of Calgary. He is also currently engaged in a PhD on Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. After a career in the oil and gas industry, Roger has focused his attention on issues related to ASGM as part of his doctoral research – with emphasis on formalization models in the global south. Roger is married to Jennifer, and they have one daughter Chantal.

Ping Zhao, CPA, CA - Director of Finance and Administration

Ping Zhao is a legacy Chartered accountant (CPA, CA) with over 15 years of experience working with public and private sectors to provide them with financial planning, tax preparation, audit compliance, and other business consulting services.

Ping holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wuhan University (China) and a Bachelor of Business Administration – accounting degree from Mount Royal University in Canada.

Ping articled with Ernest & Young LLP  from 2007-2009 while working towards the CA designation. 

Scott Gryba, P.Eng., MBA – International Finance Specialist

Scott is a professional engineer, a registered geologist in British Columbia, and a finance specialist with a strong background in mining and the precious metals sector. Following the completion of a degree in Geological Engineering from the University of British Colombia, Scott began his career in the resource sector as an engineering consultant with Golder Associates and Hatch Mott MacDonald. Scott then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario to pursue an interest in investing. He began his finance career with BMO Capital Markets in Toronto conducting equity research of mining companies in the precious metals sector. Post BMO, Scott was an Associate Portfolio Manager at BCI responsible for covering the gold sector and gold mining companies.

With his interdisciplinary background in engineering, geology, and finance, Scott is excited to contribute to AGC’s mission by creating innovative financial and social enterprise models to mitigate business risk in the ASGM sector and to facilitate investment.

Douglas Kao, BASc – Project Manager (Philippines)

Douglas Kao holds a B.A.Sc. in Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has been engaged in the world of ASGM since 2019. He brings about a practical approach to problem-solving by drawing on industry experience from working at various Canadian mining operations in addition to his current work in the non-profit sector. A zealot of fieldwork and sustainable development, his primary role at the AGC involves the technical design, coordination, and management of establishing responsible gold extraction systems within ASGM communities. This has brought him internationally to project sites in Indonesia, Mongolia, and the Philippines. Douglas enjoys horseback riding and is fluent in English and Mandarin.

Abel Ouedraogo, MSc – Exploration Geologist, Project Manager (Burkina Faso)

Abel is a professional geologist with nearly 15 years of international experience in mineral exploration, mining, and environmental assessment. He holds a master’s degree in Geology from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He later completed a Diploma in Geological Technology from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is currently completing a Masters of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership at Queen’s University.  Throughout his career, Abel has worked in different roles from grass-root exploration to mining projects in Canada and West Africa, including work in the ASGM sector. He has carried out training on techniques aimed at optimizing sustainable gold recovery and has implemented programs to sensitize communities on mercury toxicity. Abel is fluent in Moore, English, French and basic German.

As a native of the Centre-North region of Burkina Faso that feeds the biggest ASGM workforce in the country, Abel got exposed at an early age to some of the challenges these communities face and has since looked for ways to improve the sector. Developing relationships and building trust with ASM communities has been one of the greatest joys of Abel’s career and he is excited to join the AGC team and contribute to the organization’s mission.

Ryan Painter, BA – Communications and Public Relations Manager

Ryan has over nine years of experience in communications, media and public relations, branding, and digital marketing management. As a public affairs consultant he worked with various non-profit organizations across Canada, supporting their efforts at brand design and recognition, communications planning and strategy, stakeholder engagement, and media relations. As a political consultant he managed campaign strategy, candidate preparation and media training, platform development, community outreach, staff training, and digital marketing.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from UBC – Okanagan, with a major in history and a minor in urban/social geography.

Olena Redkina - Senior Bookkeeper

Olena has over 20+ years of professional experience in finance and project management in the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine (10 years) and over 10 years of professional accounting experience in Canada. She has 3 University degrees in various fields – Engineering and Business Law from Ukraine and Finance in Canada. Also, she was trained in several countries – Greece, South Korea and India.

Currently, she is a legacy level 4 CGA student and plans to re-enroll CPA program to complete her designation.

Karina Canevaro, M.Ed., M.P.M. - Senior Administrative Assistant

Karina is originally from Peru and she holds two master’s degrees, one in Education Management from UPAGU in Peru and one in Project Management from Salamanca University in Spain. She is presently pursuing a Post Degree Diploma in Business Administration in General Management at Camosun College in Victoria, BC. 

Karina has over 10 years of experience working in business administration and management positions in a variety of businesses, including in the mining sector. Karina is enthusiastic to bring her administrative and management skills to the AGC team and be part of the organization.

Altanbagana Bayarsaikhan – National Project Manager, Based in Mongolia

Experienced in project management, corporate communications, government relations, and community relations, Bagana has managed a number of international development projects funded by SDC and USAID, and worked in the small scale and large scale mining sector for the last several years. He is a graduate of Manchester University, UK. Bagana is very excited to contribute his knowledge and experience to the betterment of the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Mongolia.

Bagana is responsible for managing the Global Environment Facility-supported planetGOLD project in Mongolia.

Saidou Kabre – National Project Manager, Based in Burkina Faso

Saidou is an economist and investment specialist with more than 20 years of experience. He holds a Master’s degree in Macroeconomics and Development Management and his experience has focused on the development and management of projects and programs in the humanitarian, livelihoods, agricultural development and environmental sectors. He has significant experience in livelihood development, food security, Mining and Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining (ASGM). Saidou has worked on the establishment of mechanisms for facilitating access to finance, development of agricultural extension programs, extension of production and environmental technologies, and integration of ICTs in development sectors.

Prior to joining AGC, he worked in Burkina Faso, Ghana South Africa, Kenya, Mali and Niger with long term assignments in South Africa, Europe and the United States.

Daniel Merino, MSc – National Project Manager, Based in Peru

Daniel Merino is a geological engineer with degrees from the National University of Engineering (UNI), Perú and Master of Sciences from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has worked for many years in mineral exploration in South America and Middle East, and has also built experience as an international consultant in gold and copper mineralization, as well as environmental and social Issues. As the former Director of Mining and Energy of Ica Región, Perú, Daniel was in charge of formalization for artisanal miners, small-scale miners, and supervision of metallurgical plants. Daniel also holds professor positions with various public universities in Perú, and is a trainer and coach on occupational safety and health issues. Daniel speaks Spanish, English and French.

Abigail Ocate – National Project Manager, Based in the Philippines

For six years, Abi worked on promoting good governance in the extractive industries, particularly on improving fiscal transparency. Prior to serving as Country Officer for Southeast Asia at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Secretariat, she was instrumental in establishing and institutionalizing the EITI process in the Philippines as the Technical Manager of the PH-EITI National Secretariat. She also worked as an Environmental Specialist for a private consulting firm handling Environmental Impact Assessment projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology and MSc degree in Environmental Science.

Abi is responsible for managing the Government Environment Facility – Global Opportunities for Long-Term Development (GEF-GOLD) project in the Philippines.

Vasquez Ramdas, MSc, BSc, Dip - National Project Coordinator, Based in Guyana

Vasquez is a professional Forest Biologist with 10 + years of experience in Mining, Forestry, and Environment. Following the completion of a degree in Forestry from the University of Guyana, Vasquez began his career in the environmental sector as an environmentalist with the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Post EPA, he served the Guyana Forestry Commission, responsible for forest research and monitoring. Vasquez then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Forest Biology from the University of Guyana to pursue an interest in biodiversity conservation.

Vasquez began his conservation career with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) as an environmentalist then was quickly promoted to Manager of the Technical Services Unit, responsible for promoting best practices in the gold and diamond mining sector. While with the GGDMA vasquez coordinated several internationally funded projects within the ASGM sector of Guyana.

With his profound contextual understanding of the mining, forestry, and environment sector of Guyana, Vasquez is excited to contribute to AGC’s mission by creating sustainable landscapes in the ASGM sector.

Renata Anderson - Information and Reporting Officer, Based in Guyana

Renata Anderson is a business and economic professional with 5+ years experience in the management, economic
and business industry aiding in data collection, development, and analysis with a strong
commitment to integrity and measurable results.

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Business Administration at the MIU International University. With a strong academic background, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a certification in Digital Project Management. Prior to joining the AGC, Renata worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Sector on an IDB-funded project.

In addition to her academic and professional pursuits, Renata has a keen interest in staying updated with the latest trends in business development and management. She enjoys exploring new concepts and strategies to optimize organizational performance.

Peter Rosenbluth, MSc – Project Manager

Peter is a results based management specialist as well as an environment and development specialist with over a decade of experience working for non-profit organizations in Canada and Southeast Asia. Peter has been a consultant to academic institutions, environmental organizations and Aboriginal governments and has worked on issues ranging from mercury toxicity in fish to the creation of transnational environmental management institutions.

With an interdisciplinary background in geology, economics, environmental sciences and international development, Peter helps to ensure that the AGC develops crosscutting solutions to the multifaceted challenges of the artisanal gold sector.  He holds a B.Sc. in Earth Sciences and Economics from McGill University and a Master of Environmental Studies from York University.

Peter focuses his work at the AGC on supporting countries carrying out Minimata Initial Assessments and National Action Plans for ASGM in order to meet their requirements under the Minamata Convention.

Mareike Kroll, PhD – Health and Research Consultant

Mareike brings over a decade of work experience in public health and sustainability research in South and South East Asia as well as in policy advice. She received her PhD in health geography in 2012 from the University of Cologne, Germany. Prior to joining AGC, Mareike worked as research fellow at the University of Cologne and, among others, coordinated a research project on health inequities in India and a follow-up knowledge transfer project on surveillance of non-communicable diseases to provide evidence-based data for public health policies. She also worked with the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and contributed to policy reports on international sustainable development, climate change and health. Mareike is a member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR). Her research experience in different countries has strengthened her ability to understand complex health-related problems with a holistic perspective and develop solutions by applying a critical, context-sensitive and creative approach.

Mareike consults on health-related activities across the AGC’s programs.


Brad Van Den Bussche, PGeol – Business Development Consultant

Brad brings over thirty years of experience in the mining and resource business where he has provided expertise as an exploration geologist, project manager, and executive in both the corporate environment and as a consultant. Brad received his BSc. (Honours) Geology from the University of Manitoba in 1985. He has worked on and managed numerous feasibility studies, exploration programs, due-diligence evaluations and project assessments of both minerals and energy projects in Canada, the United States, Asia, Latin America, and the UK. Over the last 10 years, he has been heavily exposed to corporate management and company financing through his position as director and officer of several junior mining companies. His early career concentrated on technical evaluation and project management for the resource industry, while in the latter years, duties were mainly executive and corporate in nature. Skills and experience include project assessment, field exploration program design and implementation, resource estimation, resource quality evaluation, market evaluation, new business development, contract negotiations, corporate governance and company finance efforts. Brad is fluent in English and functional in Spanish and has extensive experience in Latin America.


Anupama Ariyaratne, PhD – Consultant

Anupama is a communications expert specializing in both scientific and non-scientific communications targeting diverse audiences. She completed her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary in 2020, where she had great success in raising research funds and publishing peer-reviewed articles on immunology and infectious diseases. Additionally, as the communications and social media lead of a research group studying parasitic infections of humans and livestock, Anupama built her expertise in website design, blogging, and social media with a particular lens on communicating complex data, research findings, and other aspects of scientific discovery efficiently and clearly to a broad range of stakeholders. She is thrilled to contribute to AGC’s mission by using her particular passion and strengths; she looks forward to engaging audiences in energizing exchange through accessible research- and data-focused communication.


Hans Erasmus, MSc – Business Finance Specialist

Hans is a Professional Geologist registered in British Columbia, Canada and is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43–101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43–101) and a Valuator in terms of the VALMIN and CIMVAL codes. He has more than 35 years of diverse international experience providing exploration management services, project evaluation, due diligence studies, as well as mineral project and mine valuations services for mining companies and financial institutions engaged in mergers and acquisitions or for the listing of companies on Stock Exchanges in South Africa, London, Perth and Toronto.

Much of his earlier work has been in Africa, but for the last 10 years, he has been based in Hong Kong and Mongolia, consulting throughout South-East Asia. He holds a BSc degree in Geology, a Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Mining) and a Master of Science degree in Mineral Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Hans looks forward to contributing to AGC’s mission by exploring business and financial models to facilitate investments in the ASGM sector.


Shawn Blore – Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Expert, Visiting Expert and Associate, Based in Canada and Brazil

Tracking and certifying artisanal gold along supply chains; design and implementation of technical assistance programs to artisanal gold miners in return for legal gold sales through recognized channels; design of Conflict Minerals Certification Systems in Central Africa; Researcher and Policy Analyst for artisanal mining in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela; Post Graduate Fellow – Massey College, University of Toronto; Journalist and Broadcaster; Radio documentaries for CBC and NPR; Investigative stories for the Globe and Mail (Toronto), San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, The Independent (London), and others. 1992-1998 Journalist, Globe and Mail Newspaper, Vancouver, Canada

Languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, English.


Agni Pratama – Based in Indonesia

Agni brings over 24 years of combined professional experience across both the private and development sectors. He brings a unique understanding of the nuances of each sector and has worked to bring them closer together for poverty reduction. His educational background includes International Relations at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) and Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Portland State University. Agni is an adept leader having coordinated and guided the activities of different teams and various business partners in the delivery of a number of market system development, value chain and shared value investment projects, as well as having managed progressive positions in the private sector. Agni’s experience has allowed him to develop key skills in the leadership, operations, logistics, international trade payment and delivery systems, marketing and branding, Research and Development, strategic alliances, startup incubation, startup ecosystem development, and business and financial management in different type of sectors, such as High Value Crops, Craft, renewable energy, home furnishing, fashion, furniture, and creative industries.

Prior to working with the AGC, Agni worked for as The Director of Economic Development Program in Mercy Corps and worked as The Vice President of Business Development in an Indonesian Venture Capital company “LiMa Ventura”.


Paul Cordy, PhD – Based in Canada and Peru

Paul has spent the past decade working with small miners for myriad UN and development organizations with ASGM in Colombia, Peru, Congo, Kenya, Indonesia, Honduras, and many other countries. Through these experiences he has learned to apply practical small scale processing solutions, and to understand the challenges faced by gold miners, communities and governments globally. He also captures the challenges and solutions in ASGM in high quality video for integration into his mercury-free gold extraction educational video series. Paul earned his PhD at the University of British Columbia, studying atmospheric mercury emissions from artisanal and small scale gold shops: mapping, modeling, and mitigation. Paul’s aim is to develop practical alternatives to mercury use in artisanal and small scale gold mining that can reasonably be promoted by development agencies, particularly in the alluvial mining space. Paul hopes one day to be able to test his theory that residual gold can pay for landscape restoration in informally mined alluvial areas.


Jennifer O’Neill, MSc – Research Scientist

Jennifer is a Research Scientist with over a decade of experience conducting research for various academic institutions, federal government entities, and not-for-profit agencies. She combines a background in Aquatic Research, Applied Optics, Geomatics, and Communications with experience in the realms of artisanal mining, small- and large-scale fisheries, and habitat management to form a multidisciplinary approach. Prior to joining the AGC in early 2017, Jennifer worked on a broad range of issues, including ecological response to environmental disturbance, the feasibility of natural resource mapping and monitoring using satellite and aerial imagery, and the integration of social and environmental considerations in resource conservation and marine spatial planning.

Jennifer was Project Manager for “Sustainable Development of ASGM in Indonesia” and “Reducing Mercury Use in Papua New Guinea’s ASGM Sector”. As a research scientist and field lead, she carried out mercury inventory and exploration of the formal and informal ASGM sector around the world. She also facilitated workshops for governments, academic groups, and NGOs on the topic, enabling Parties of the Minamata Convention to formulate data-backed mercury reduction strategies. With a specialization and industry experience in remote sensing, she led remote mapping projects, from image acquisition through calibration, analysis, map creation, and on-the-ground validation. Jennifer has worked with miners and stakeholders in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Ecuador, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Kenya, and Mozambique.

In a synthesis of these activities, Jennifer is the lead author of “Estimating Mercury Use and Documenting Practices in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining,” a guidebook and suite of data tools that may be used to explore and understand the sector at a country scale and produce defensible estimates of mercury used, gold produced, and miner population. She was also involved with the AMAP UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2018, which aims to provide up-to-date information on worldwide atmospheric emissions, aquatic releases, and the transport and fate of mercury in the global environment.

She holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Geography and a M.Sc. in Geomatics from the University of Victoria, Canada.