Our Team

Ms. Blanca Stella Frias, Director, President & Chief Executive Officer

Stella is Colombian and has worked in the Latin American mining scene for more than 20 years. With extensive knowledge of South American communities, she began her career by creating a company to consult in mining districts in Venezuela and Guyana. Stella has worked for companies such as Gold Reserve de Venezuela (a subsidiary of Gold Reserve), Greystar Resources, Terramundo Drilling, Minera Providencia (the Colombian subsidiary of Minera Andes), and Revemin II CA (the Venezuelan subsidiary of Crystallex International). During this period, Stella gained recognition as a community leader and CSR specialist.
More recently, Stella was the Administration and Community Relations Manager for Ventana Gold and was a key member of the management team that developed Ventana from an exploration company to one that successfully defined a world class gold deposit at La Bodega, Colombia that was later the target of a US$ 1.4B buyout by AUX Canada Acquisition.

Jon Lehmann, Director

Jon is a professional geologist who has been involved in gold exploration in Colombia for over 18 years. He was one of the founders and VP Exploration for Ventana Gold, managing the successful discovery and delineation of the La Bodega gold deposit in Santander that was acquired by AUX Canada Acquisition in a US$1.4B buyout. Jon has over 30 years of mineral exploration experience, is a Licensed Professional Geologist in Washington State and a member in good standing of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Thomas E. Wharton Jr., Director

Thomas has 30 years’ experience in the startup, development and financing of early stage companies and has served as CFO, CEO and Board Member for various private and/or public companies. Thomas has a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and has worked as a consultant to various exploration stage companies and investment funds focused on junior mining and Oil & Gas investment opportunities.

Allen V. Ambrose, Director

Allen has over 25 years’ experience in the mining industry that includes working with larger companies as well as junior exploration companies. He has been a director of Minera Andes since November of 1995. Allen has extensive experience in all phases of exploration, project evaluation and project management. He has also worked as a geologic consultant in the US, Venezuela and Argentina. As a consultant, he was a co-discoverer of a Venezuelan auriferous massive sulfide deposit acquired by Gold Reserve and known as the Brisas gold deposit. He has been employed as the exploration manager for N.A. Degerstrom, a US contract mining company, and has worked as a geologist for Cyprus Minerals, Kidd Creek Mines, Molycorp, Boise Cascade and Dennison Mines. He holds a B.S. degree in Geology from Eastern Washington University. He has also been a director of Caerus Resource and Century Mining since July 2002.

Paulo Javier Ochoa Silva, Director

Paulo is a practicing lawyer in Colombia with extensive experience in inter-government relations. He has served in management positions with several companies in Colombia including Director of Planning for Proexport, Legal Vice President of  Empresa de Telecomunicationes de Bogota (a company with about 4,500 employees and annual sales of approximately US$500M), Empresa de Renovacion Urbana de Bogota (an industrial and commercial company owned by the city of Bogota responsible for the design and implementation of urban renewal projects), and the Superintendencia de Sociedades (a Government agency responsible for regulating and monitoring  corporations in Colombia). Paulo has an excellent reputation in both the private and public sector in Colombia.

Mark Gelmon, CFO

Mark obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia and attained his chartered accountant designation in 1995. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of B.C.  and has provided his expertise to several TSX Venture Exchange listed companies as a director, CFO and consultant.

James Stephenson P.Geo – Vice-President of Exploration

James is a professional geologist who has been involved in mineral exploration for over 35 years. He was a key member of the team that discovered Brisas del Cuyuni (10.2Moz Au, Venezuela) and a member of the team that commenced the drill definition of the Porgera gold deposit in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s, now one of the world’s largest gold mines; a member of the team drilling what became the 3 million ounce Kidson Gold mine in Australia in 1981; part of the team that identified a previously unidentified porphyry copper system partially overprinted by an epithermal gold system in Papua New Guinea in 2010 that was joint-ventured to Vale; and he worked on the reevaluation of the controls on mineralization at Zijinshan, which became China’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine.

Marion McGrath – Corporate Secretary

Marion has worked in the securities industry for over 25 years.  She has served as a director and officer of numerous public companies in a corporate administrative capacity.  Marion is the owner of iO Corporate Services, which company provides corporate and accounting services to various publicly-traded Canadian companies.  Prior to organizing iO Corporate, she was a senior legal assistant with a Vancouver-based securities law firm.