West Cumbria Mining believe that a critical contributor to the project success is having a strong team who are as experienced as they are enthusiastic, with many having extensive backgrounds in and around mines and mining.

Mark Kirkbride

Chief Executive Officer

Ralph Ferguson

Non Executive Director

Richard Round

Non Executive Director

John Chomley

Non Executive Director



Owen has some 50 years experience in the global mining industry: including 25 years with the Rio Tinto group where he worked in most of their commodities, companies, and countries, and ultimately was Managing Director of Rio Tinto Asia and the Australian copper and gold business. 

Owen was the founder and Managing Director of Oxiana Limited, where he led the growth of Oxiana from a junior explorer to a major Asia Pacific base and precious metals producer. Oxiana became OZ Minerals. Owen was Chairman of the Tigers Realm Minerals Group and until end of 2016 was Vice Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group; and he was also the Executive Vice- Chairman of Hong Kong-listed G-Resources and CST Mining. 

Owen is a co-founder and currently the Executive Chairman of EMR Capital, a specialist mining private equity group. EMR has multiple mining projects and operations worldwide.

Owen holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from Monash University, is a Honorary Fellow of and former Director of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AUSIMM), and a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). 

Owen has served and continues to serve as a member of a number of Government and industry mining advisory bodies; and is the recipient of a number of awards and citations for his achievements and leadership in the mining industry. He was also awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the June 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for service to the mining and minerals sector.


Chief Executive Officer

Mark has 26 years’ experience in the mining and civil engineering industries, primarily in underground construction and operations with Trafalgar House, Cementation Mining, Kvaerner and Skanska Construction.

He has worked on a wide range of mine developments, operational mines, tunnelling and heavy civil engineering construction projects, from graduate engineer through to project director.

His mining expertise includes deep shaft sinking, hard and soft rock tunnel developments (including coal, salt, potash, gold, platinum, lead/zinc and copper) and production operations. Specialist engineering work has included tunnel boring machines, tunnel refurbishment, sprayed concrete linings, hydroelectric schemes and deep geological disposal investigations.

Mark has also held a series of leadership roles as a senior manager, director and CEO within a range of specialist businesses. These roles have incorporated strategic development, project financing, mergers/acquisitions and divestments.

He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining Engineering and a Master of Philosophy in Geomechanics, both from Camborne School of Mines. He is a Fellow of the UK Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a Chartered Engineer.


Non Executive Director
B Com (Melbourne), Chartered Accountant (ICAA) (Australia)

Ralph has over 36 years’ experience in the provision of accounting, assurance and finance related matters.

Ralph joined EMR as CFO in 2017 and since that time has been responsible for all elements of the EMR Finance function including: financial reporting; treasury management; and information technology. Ralph also has overall responsibility for the legal, risk and compliance and people related functions within EMR.

Prior to joining EMR Capital, Ralph had been a Senior Partner in KPMG Australia for 18 years. In that position he held various senior roles including Partner in Charge of KPMG’s CFO Advisory Practice in Melbourne, responsible for advising CFO’s on strategy, operations and risk.

Prior to that position Ralph was Partner in Charge of KPMG’s Enterprise Group, a dedicated practice established to provide audit, taxation and advisory services to privately owned corporate groups and family offices.

Ralph’s experience at KPMG included transaction due diligence assignments relating to mergers, acquisitions and divestments. In addition to his external client roles and internal KPMG leadership positions, Ralph led various strategic and operational initiatives for KPMG.

Ralph holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Melbourne University, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and whilst at KPMG was an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) registered company auditor.


Non-Executive Director

Richard has a successful track record in senior finance and leadership roles in a range of quoted and private companies. Most recently Richard, as CEO, led the strategy and ultimate sale of the largest independent hydro-energy developer in the UK, Green Highland Renewables.

Richard now holds a portfolio of Non-Executive and advisory roles, including Non-Executive Director and Chair of Audit Committees at both Cyberhawk Innovations and Rambler Metals and Mining plc.

Previously, Richard was Non- Executive Director at Anglo Asian Mining PLC and Acting Chief Executive at quoted Novera Energy plc where he led the sale of the landfill gas, wind and hydro group; prior to this he held a series of finance director roles in the coal, mining and energy sectors, and has specific knowledge and experience in the UK coal sector.


Non Executive Director
B Engineering (Melbourne)

John is a chemical engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the resources industry. The majority of the first 17 years were spent in operational, technical, business improvement and management roles in base metal processing operations. These roles focused on the development of new operations and the significant improvement of existing ones including roles as Metallurgical Superintendent of Aberfoyle Resource’s (Australian Stock Exchange listed), Mt Gordon copper operation and Smelter Operations Leader of the Tomago Aluminium Smelter.

John joined EMR Capital as an Investment Director in 2015. Prior to joining EMR Capital John had moved into an investments, mergers and acquisitions role with the expanding Oxiana Ltd, working with many members of the current EMR Capital team since then. He later joined Tigers Realm Minerals Group in 2010 whereas Head of Business Development he was an integral member of the team that established three commodity focused public companies: Tigers Realm Coal; Asiamet Resources (copper); and NexGen Energy (uranium).

John has led cross functional teams to assess resource opportunities in many parts of the world including Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Turkey, Russia and South America. At EMR Capital John has been closely involved in many portfolio companies.