Vulcan Energy Resources shuffles board amid progression towards delivery of Zero Carbon Lithium Project, Germany

Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX:VUL) has executed several key internal leadership changes to aid in the delivery of its Zero Carbon Lithium Project in Germany. 

The company says these changes will take effect from 1 July 2023 and come as Vulcan looks to deliver on its project execution and operational readiness strategies with a future-focused organisation in place. 

Vulcan reports current Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cris Moreno, who boasts over 20 years of global experience delivering ‘major’ capital projects in the energy and chemicals sector, has been appointed Managing Director and CEO, while founder of the Zero Carbon Lithium Project Dr. Francis Wedin will continue in an executive capacity by moving to the role of Executive Chair. 

Meanwhile, current Non-Executive Chair Gavin Rezos will continue to serve on the board as Non-Executive Deputy Chair. 

The company notes Moreno’s experience in driving downstream lithium chemicals projects — which he acquired during his tenure as Vice President of Engineering and Development for Aurora Lithium, among other roles — and the synergies of Vulcan’s project to integrated upstream and downstream oil and gas projects makes him ideally suited to drive Vulcan forward during this next phase toward commercial production. 

Meanwhile, Wedin is expected to continue to work as an executive with a specific focus on investor relations, working with the CEO to drive the project forward as well as providing strategic leadership and guidance. 

During his time as CEO, Wedin has solidified the company as a commercial renewable energy producer and has also completed a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and raised over $500 million of capital. 

The company also notes Rezos will provide continuity to the board and guidance to Wedin during this transition phase.       

With these leadership changes, Vulcan Energy Resources announces the financing process for the full debt and equity financing for phase one is progressing and is expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2024. 

Vulcan’s optimisation plans are also expected to begin in 2023 in conjunction with the start of the drilling of new production/re-injection wells in order to increase the current brine flow at its production site. 

Speaking on the changes Wedin says: “As we embark on the execution phase, we need to ensure that we have the right skill sets at the executive level as we execute and deliver the Zero Carbon Lithium Project. 

Since joining us as Deputy CEO in 2022, Cris Moreno has been instrumental in transforming Vulcan from a development-focused team into an integrated development, execution and production company and has built up a highly capable project directorate. 

As we embark on the execution phase, we need to ensure that we have the right skill sets at the executive level as we execute and deliver the Zero Carbon Lithium Project.” 

Cris has extensive experience in executing large, integrated capital projects in the oil and gas industry, which shares a lot of DNA with integrated lithium chemicals and renewable energy projects like ours. Importantly, he also has unique experience in the lithium chemicals and battery cathode industries in Europe. We share a passion for the environment, and Cris’ values embody the decarbonisation and energy transition purpose and mission of Vulcan. 

With this change, I know Cris is the right person to lead Vulcan to the next stage and use his considerable abilities to take our integrated renewable energy and carbon-neutral lithium chemicals project to large-scale commercial production. Effective succession planning was critical in moving the company from development to execution phase. 

I am moving to Executive Chair with the same, unchanged daily focus, to continue to drive the company forward and ensure we maintain our strategic direction and liaise with our stakeholders.” 

Vulcan Energy Resources is an ASX-listed lithium company founded in 2018 that is focused on developing its Zero Carbon Lithium Project, which aims to decarbonise lithium production through the development of the world’s first net carbon neutral, zero fossil fuels business, with co-production of renewable geothermal energy on a mass scale.  

Vulcan had $269 million cash at hand as of 26 May 2023, according to its latest Annual General Meeting presentation.

Vulcan is the god of fire, including the fire of metalworking and forge, in ancient Roman religion and myth. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.