Partners

The ProOpt International team of experts is available to assist your engineers and developers. Both improvement and optimization projects, as well as plant turnarounds and process developments are possible. Our independent operations guarantee an unbiased opinion. As detailed in the partner profiles below, a full range of industrial experience and specialist insight is at your disposal.

Alex Holtzapple

Main fields of expertise

  • Feasibility studies
  • Flowsheet modelling
  • Hydrometallurgy

Experience

Alex started his career as a process engineer at Phelps Dodge Morenci and Washington Group International, where heap leaching was his main focus. Since 2008 he has worked as a consulting metallurgical engineer, utilizing and developing flowsheet simulation software. Projects included gold, silver, cobalt, copper, nickel, uranium, iron ore, and potash in over 15 countries. This concerned amongst others mineral processing plant simulations for the optimization of both operating and greenfield projects. Technologies used in these projects are typically leaching, hydrometallurgy, comminution, beneficiation, and pyrometallurgy. Process audits, equipment list generation, design criteria, and production forecasting are just a few of the services in which Alex excels.

Michel Bridy

Main fields of expertise

  • Business intelligence
  • Data management
  • IT projects

Experience

Michel has over 20 years experience in IT and data management. He started his career at IHS Energy Group and later moved to Orange Communications, where he worked on GIS systems, data warehouses, and business intelligence systems. He further lead IT teams and business intelligence projects at ELCA, IBM, and BCV. Since 2014, he started bee.solutions, where he delivers data management and business intelligence solutions in demanding environments such as oil & gas industry and the financial sector.

Dr. Mark W. Kennedy

Main fields of expertise

  • Flowsheet modelling
  • Non-ferrous metallurgy
  • Smelting furnace design

Experience

Mark is experienced in first-of-a-kind metallurgical plants and commercialization of new technology, including technology and financial risk management. He has more than 20 years of experience in the metallurgical industry (nickel, ferro-nickel, zinc, copper, magnesium, aluminium and materials) in plant operations, project engineering and applied research. He started his career at Noranda in research and as a process and project engineer. At Falconbridge, he acted as an owner representative on the $4.5B Koniambo Nickel project. He then worked at Elkem on the design, operation and scale up of high intensity and high temperature processes, furnaces and reactors.

Dr. Els Nagels

Main fields of expertise

  • Physical metallurgy
  • Steel processes
  • Thermodynamics

Experience

Els is an experienced consultant to metallurgical companies, specialized in experimental set-ups, advanced characterization work, and thermodynamic modelling. After a PhD in solidification, she co-founded InsPyro, where she has run short term consultancy projects, as well as international research projects. Her focus is not only on pyrometallurgy but also on microstructure formation and control in alloys. She has mainly worked in steel, lead and zinc metallurgy, as well as for foundries, cooperating with companies such as Sadaci, Aurubis, SMS Siemag, Nyrstar and Nedstaal.

Dr. Sander Arnout

Main fields of expertise

  • Process modelling
  • Pyrometallurgy
  • Thermodynamics

Experience

After a PhD in stainless steel metallurgy, Sander founded InsPyro, providing consultancy and process support in pyrometallurgy. He is experienced in feasibility studies, operational problem solving, and strategic developments, using analysis of the process data, models, experimental set-ups, and advanced characterization work. Sander has run short term consultancy projects, international research projects, as well as interim assignments. He has mainly worked in steel, lead and zinc metallurgy, for companies such as Campine, Berzelius, Nyrstar and Aperam.

Christian Landaas

Main fields of expertise

  • Financing
  • Management
  • Metals Market

Experience

Christian started his career in electricity trading at MRE and SKM in Norway. After growing rapidly, SKM was sold to EnBW in 1997. He then established and became CEO of SKM Kraft, a financial and risk management services provider in the Nordic Electricity market.
In 2000 he formed ERAS Metal, and later GRAS (now ScanArc), focused on recovering metals from hazardous waste using propriety plasma-based thermal processes. As CFO and CEO, he successfully took the company from concept to industrialized stage, including managing a very successful IPO in 2007.

Paul Hellinckx

Main fields of expertise

  • Financing
  • Management
  • Metals Market

Experience

Paul Hellinckx started his career in zinc trading at Umicore. As CEO of Tinfos Nizi, he lead a strategic turnaround from 2000.  Later, he was in charge of trading companies LN Metals in London and BHL Metals in Switzerland. At Basic Element he established and lead the worldwide marketing of ferromolybdenum. He founded the consultancy company ProVal Partners in 2009.
He has extensive experience in commercial and management issues in the metal industry: structured and trade finance, IPO, accounting, hedging, IT and ERP implementation, sales and sourcing, logistics. He combines a wide managerial expertise, hands on experience, and a strategic vision.

Associate partners

Philippe Bouchard

Main fields of expertise

  • Metals and powder production
  • Plant management
  • Production management

Dr. Allan MacRae

Main fields of expertise

  • Furnace design
  • Industrial process equipment
  • Structural Engineering

Dr. Jan Grabelus

Main fields of expertise

  • Continuous casting
  • Ironmaking technology
  • Steelmaking technology

Dr. Ben Bowman

Main fields of expertise

  • Arc furnace physics
  • Furnace design
  • Graphite electrodes