Esteemed panel of judges for 2023 Africa Awards

By Sarah Siva | 21 August 2023

AAMEG is pleased to be working with an esteemed panel of judges for its fifth annual AAMEG Africa Awards. Representing an extraordinary calibre of expertise across mining, ESG, sustainability, finance and business consulting, this year’s panel will bring a diverse array of perspectives and a commitment to forging mutually beneficial outcomes for the Australian-African minerals and energy industry.


Nkandu Beltz: Founder & Director of Beltz Mining

Nkandu Beltz is an award-winning leader, 2012 Young Social Pioneer and African Australia of the Year Award recipient, published author, philanthropist, motivational speaker and humanitarian advocate. Her entrepreneurial spirit has seen Nkandu establish and run her own businesses here in Australia and Africa – including her exploration company, Beltz Mining in Zambia – which has recently moved from a private to public-listed company.

Nkandu has an impressive repertoire of credentials that make her an admirable panellist for the 2023 AAMEG Africa Awards. She has fit a multitude of experiences into her life to date, having lived across four countries and attaining qualifications in communications and business, which saw her work for several years as a journalist for the Ngami Times in Botswana.

Nkandu’s experiences prior to becoming involved in the mining sector, combined with her first-person understanding of the responsibilities of mining company leaders to enact the change they wish to see – has truly fuelled one of her main life passions – advocacy for children’s rights and youth development, with a strong focus on ESG. These qualities of Nkandu are reflected in what she most wishes to see in 2023 Africa Awards submissions – tangible impacts of social works bettering local communities and future generations.

Add Nkandu Beltz on LinkedIn here.

Chris McCombe: General Manager Sustainability at the Minerals Council of Australia

Chris McCombe has 25 years of both local and international experience working in geo-scientific, environmental and sustainability policy and practice in the public and private sectors.

Chris leads key initiatives supporting the minerals industry’s environmental, social and governance performance, including implementation of the Towards Sustainable Mining system in Australia. In 2018, Chris worked with the International Council on Mining and Metals, focussing on global water issues.

Prior to his role at the Minerals Council, Chris was Manager, Major Projects for the Queensland Government’s abandoned mines program, managing the rehabilitation program for the Mount Morgan legacy site and abandoned working across breadth of Queensland. Chris has also worked as an environmental consultant and hydrogeologist in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Add Chris McCombe on LinkedIn here.

Kelli Benda: Non-Executive Director FAICD

Kellie Benda is an innovative, commercially and politically astute contemporary non-executive director, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has held several senior executive roles including COO, Chief Risk Officer, and Executive General Manager: Strategy and Corporate Development in a range of organisations. These include energy companies, AGL Limited and Origin Energy Limited; mining services company, Emeco Holdings Limited and Australia’s largest freight operator, Aurizon Limited, that transports mining and energy commodities.

Since 2003, Kellie has served or serves as a chair and non-executive director, and on board committees as chair of audit & risk, business development, nominations & remuneration, and people & culture. These boards have included publicly listed, domestically and internationally; public unlisted, private companies; Government trading enterprises and organisations; private equity funded businesses; and various not-for-profit organisations. She has also chaired a dual listed mining company with assets in Tanzania.

As a frequent speaker at conventions and conferences across numerous sectors, Kellie has a passion for supporting dynamic companies going through transformational growth and change, with a current focus on governance, leadership, ESG, carbon, and leveraging technology for value creation. She is looking forward to considering the award submissions by companies that are truly making a difference to humanity and the environment in which they operate.

Add Kellie Benda on LinkedIn here.

Yangama Jokwiro: Co-Founder & Director of Vaka Health Foundation

Yangama Jokwiro is an e-health innovator, researcher, author and a Senior Lecturer at La Trobe University. He is the Director of the award-winning Vaka Health Foundation which provides cost-effective, mobile-adaptable digital health solutions to empower nurses in 16 countries in East Central and Southern Africa. Among his successes, the MCPDZW (My Continuing Professional Development Zimbabwe) application has been impactful, bringing nursing training and education digitally to more than  31,000 nurses in Zimbabwe.

Yangama Jokwiro is also Director of Learning at the Guild Learning Center which facilitates continuous professional development, micro-credentialing, and advanced nursing courses in Africa. He co-founded Vaka Health Foundation, which provides data driven health promotion and prevention through a comprehensive web and mobile platform the VakaAfya application. The work with Adavale Resources in the Ngara District in Tanzania won 2022 Africa Award for Best Workforce and Industry Development Initiative.

Based at the Shepparton Campus of La Trobe University, Yangama leads the delivery of Registered Nurse training in the Goulburn Valley Region. He has published several research papers with great citation track record and a book titled Buddy Nurse, which was listed a trending on Amazon in 2022. Yangama brings local and international perspectives and experiences of sustainable initiatives which bring lasting social development to communities.

Add Yangama Jokwiro on LinkedIn here.

Catherine Bell: Partner (Climate & Sustainability Services) at RSM

Catherine is a sustainability professional with decades of professional services experience in economics, research, and finance.  Catherine has had a global career working and advising C-level executives from medium to large global organisations on growing business in Asia, navigating digital transformation and more recently educating and innovating ways in which companies activate sustainability in their businesses.

Catherine has spent 15 years working abroad holding government positions in Denmark, Sweden and Thailand, and corporate positions in Thailand, Singapore and Australia. Catherine supports RSM clients to activate and improve on their sustainability program and strategy, advises on ESG technology and tools, industry best practices, regulation and learning and development.

Catherine leads the ESG & Climate Services practice for RSM in Western Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Economics and a Master of Arts in Asian Societies. She is a regular speaker and commentator on sustainability issues and trends and works alongside several Australian/Africa mining companies helping them understand and develop a robust approach to sustainability management and reporting.

Add Catherine Bell on LinkedIn here.

Helen Bathurst: Partner (Assurance) at PwC

Helen Bathurst is a Partner at PwC and has over 20 years’ experience providing Assurance services to a range of large listed and multinational companies both here in Australia and in the UK. She is also Chartered Accountant with in-depth experience in financial reporting, risk and controls, and governance.

Helen currently works with several companies whose mining operations span Australia and Africa, so she sees the hugely important role that sustainability plays in these businesses. Helen also has a passion for the not-for-profit space and is currently director of 12 Buckets, a Perth based children’s education charity.

Add Helen Bathurst on LinkedIn here.

Sherif Andrawes: Global Head of Natural Resources & Partner (Corporate Finance) at BDO

Sherif Andrawes holds several leadership positions in the minerals and energy resources sector. As a Director of the AAMEG Board, Sherif has a vested interest in Australian mining companies with operations in Africa and has been a supporter of AAMEG and other relevant Australian/African ventures for many years. He has supported clients that work between Australia and Africa in the resources sector over many years and brings that experience to benefit AAMEG and its members.

Sherif holds several roles within BDO. He is Partner of Corporate Finance, as well as Global Head of Natural Resources which covers mining, oil and gas and renewables. In this latter role, he is responsible for strategising and developing the sector within BDO internationally.

Sherif is well-known for his leadership in corporate finance. He has over 400 public independent expert reports and investigated accountant’s reports. He is a Fellow of both Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. He is a Business Valuation Specialist as recognised by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Sherif looks forward to submissions to the 2023 AAMEG Africa Awards that understand the importance of stakeholders and prove consistent due diligence.

Add Sherif Andrawes on LinkedIn here.

Ross Hamilton: Vice-President Sustainability for Perenti

Ross Hamilton is an expert in sustainability both academically and professionally. He holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) from Monash University and a Masters degree in Sustainability Management from Curtin University.

On the international stage, Ross has served as an expert advisor to the UN Global Compact and the International Financial Corporation on water and climate resilience. He has also served as the Director of Environmental Stewardship, Climate and Social Progress at the International Council on Mining and Metals in London. Ross has also served in leadership roles for BHP and Leighton Contractors.

At the present time, Ross is Vice-President Sustainability at Perenti, a Non-Executive Director and Board Member of Novo Resources, and has served as the interim Chair of the Global Water Partnership. Professionally, he has more than 20 years of international and leadership experience working in sustainability across a range of sectors including international development, not-for-profit, government, indigenous land management and academia.

Add Ross Hamilton on LinkedIn here.

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