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Natasha Vaz, Chief Operating Officer at Kirkland Lake Gold Makes OMA History

Aug 26, 2021

The Ontario Mining Association is pleased to announce Natasha Vaz as the designated incoming Chair of its Board of Directors. Effective September 2021, Ms. Vaz will become the first woman to serve in this role. She will succeed Mike McCann, who leaves the OMA to accept the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). 

“Natasha and I have served together on the OMA Board and I have no doubt that the skills and leadership capabilities she will bring to this new role will further our collective strategic ambitions and our purpose-driven vision for Ontario mining. Her appointment as the first woman to lead the Board marks an important milestone in OMA’s history – one whose time has certainly come, as we celebrate the association’s centenary and grasp emerging opportunities to reshape the industry. I am excited to see Natasha apply her undeniable drive and ingenuity to accomplish great things at the OMA,” said Mike McCann. 

Ms. Vaz is Chief Operating Officer at Kirkland Lake Gold, where she champions innovation and optimization, promotes the adoption of advanced technologies and challenges conventional approaches. She is passionate about shattering stereotypes about our industry, and has been an important proponent of OMA’s #ThisIsMining campaign. She is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and exemplifies excellence in strategic leadership. According to her profile in CIM Magazine's Names to Know 2021 list, “Vaz believes that the goal of having more women in leadership positions in a technical field is hampered by the talent pool. The more women who pursue STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) higher education, the more who will join the mining industry. ‘We should be putting our focus on attracting more women into such programs and into industry and making strides to create a welcoming environment that supports all forms of diversity,’ she said.” 

Ms. Vaz herself is a Professional Engineer with over 20 years of operational and technical experience in the mining industry. Prior to assuming the role of COO in March 2021, she served as Senior Vice President Technical Services, Technology and Innovation at Kirkland Lake Gold. Before joining Kirkland Lake Gold in April 2019, she was Vice President, Technical Services for Tahoe Resources Inc., focusing on the Company's Canadian assets. Prior to that assignment, she spent over 10 years at Lake Shore Gold Corp., serving in a number of operational and technical services roles, including Director, Technical Services and Project Evaluations; and Vice President, Technical Services. Ms. Vaz holds a Bachelor of Applied Sciences, Mineral Engineering from the University of Toronto and an Executive MBA from the Kellogg-Schulich School of Management. 

As someone who believes in “looking at ways of working smarter not harder,” Ms. Vaz will have the opportunity to build on the initiatives of her predecessor.

Like Ms. Vaz, Mike McCann advocates for the integration of smart approaches and innovation into core operational practices.

He supported the creation of OMA’s Innovation and Clean Technology Committee, with a mandate to advance innovation in Ontario mining operations, enhancing their competitiveness by leveraging new and emerging technologies, while meeting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives.

Mike McCann
Mike McCann, Chair of Board of Directors, OMA

As Chair of OMA’s Energy Committee, Mr. McCann tackled critical competitiveness issues, positioning the OMA Board to stay ahead of the complex challenges presented by climate change and a shifting energy landscape. He navigated challenges around COVID-19, working with the government to establish a hiatus for the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI); he also successfully advocated for a 14% reduction on OMA members’ energy bills, the largest reduction since ICI was first established. As Head of Strategic Business Projects at Vale's Base Metals division, he helped advance the development of new assets, create new joint ventures, and contribute to the business's overall strategy. He also oversaw large and complex mining and processing operations in the North Atlantic region and internationally in the UK, Japan and China. 

“Mike is a seasoned executive with vast stores of knowledge about the industry. Crucially, he is not just a great problem-solver, but someone who is focused on opportunities. We will miss his wise counsel and ability to turn aspirational ideas into action, motivating everyone along the way. Our loss is most certainly IOC’s gain. On behalf of the OMA team and all our members, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and thank Mike for his many contributions to the OMA,” said OMA President, Chris Hodgson. He added, “I look forward to working with Natasha and the Board on prioritizing and implementing initiatives to serve our members in today’s dynamic environment, which holds many challenges and exciting openings for our sector.”

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