Governing Council

The Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining is an industry-driven organization working with mineral resource companies to improve and enhance the industry, help address its needs for training and education, and conduct applied research to provide solutions to industry issues.

That focus is reflected in the makeup of CNIM’s Governing Council, whose goals are to provide advice to the College for establishing CNIM’s priorities. The majority of the members are from industry.

The Governing Council also provides strategic direction to CNIM. Its expert advice helps CNIM determine what industrial training is needed, what will be required in the future and what resources might be available in the industry to help make that happen.

The council meets quarterly to review plans, and set budgets and priorities.


Brad Thrall
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Thrall brings over 25 years of experience and accomplishments in mine operations management, environmental management and mine-closure planning and execution and has been involved in the Yukon mining industry for over 18 years. Mr. Thrall holds a B.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and an MBA from the University of Colorado. He currently serves as Vice President of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, Chair of the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining and Chair of the Yukon Producers Group

Alexco Resource Corp. (Elsa/Keno)

Ron Light
General Manager

Light is presently responsible for the overall management, direction and co-ordination of mine operations at Capstone Mining Corporation’s Minto Mine. He brings over 40 years’ of experience in mine management, mine engineering, operations, maintenance, and mine expansions in both open pit and underground scenarios. His mining career has involved work in Canada, the United States and South America.

Capstone Mining Corp. (Minto Mine)

Mike Burke
Chief Geologist

Burke joined the exploration team at Golden Predator (now Americas Bullion Royalty Corp) in 2011 as Chief Geologist. He was previously employed by the Government of Yukon beginning in 1990, most recently as the Head of Mineral Services for the Yukon Geological Survey. Burke has worked since 1983 in the mineral exploration and mining industry in British Columbia and Yukon. He holds a BSc in Geology from the University of British Columbia, and is a member of the Society of Economic Geologists, Yukon College Board of Governors and is a director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

Dr. Paul West-Sells
President, Casino Mining Corporation

Dr. West-Sells has over 20 years' experience in the mining industry. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Metallurgical Engineering, he worked with BHP, Placer Dome, and Barrick in increasingly senior roles in Research and Development and Project Development. Since 2006, Dr. West-Sells has worked for Western Copper, holding a number of technical and executive positions. Currently, as the President and COO of Western Copper and Gold, Dr. West-Sells oversees the day to day operations of the company.  Dr. West-Sells currently sits on the Yukon Minerals Advisory Board and the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining Governing Council.

Kelly Arychuk
Vice President, Mine Support Services

Arychuk brings over 15 years of senior experience in the mining industry primarily focused on human resources, people development, supply chain, and camp management with large scale mining companies in Northern Canada. She was the president of Skills Canada - NWT for several years and former Chairperson for the NWT Mine Training Society. Kelly continues to stay active on boards and agencies around training and development.

Victoria Gold Corp.

Maurice Albert
Vice President External Affairs, Selwyn Resources

Allison Rippin Armstrong
Vice President, Lands and Environment, Kaminak Gold Corporation

Allison has nearly 20 years of experience working in permitting, regulatory processes and environmental compliance working for Aboriginal organizations, resource companies and NGO’s.  Allison joined Kaminak in April 2013.

Isaac Fage
GroundTruth Exploration

Joy Waters
President/CEO Yukon Workers Compensation Health & Safety Board, Yukon Government

Waters began her career with the Yukon government in 1991 in the Department of Justice. She has held several senior positions in government, including assistant deputy minister of Environment and deputy minister of tourism and culture. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1987 with her MSW, Administration. 

Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board

Chief Kevin McGinty
Selkirk First Nation

McGinty’s First Nation holds resource rights to its traditional lands and collects royalties from Capstone mining, the company operating the nearby Minto copper mine. McGinty and his council have worked to ensure the mine has benefited the community with jobs and infrastructure.

Selkirk First Nation

Karen Barnes
President, Yukon College

Barnes began her career in post-secondary education at NorQuest College where she spent 17 years as instructor, project manager and program chair. In 2002, she moved to Lethbridge College as Dean of Applied Arts and Science where she managed six Schools. In 2008, Barnes moved to the Yukon to become the first Vice President Academic in 15 years. She has her Doctor of Education, University of Alberta 2003.

Shelagh Rowles
Executive Director, Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining, Yukon College

Rowles joined the College in 1991 and brings 22 years of experience in developing programs with Yukon First Nations,  Yukon communities, government and industry stakeholders to the newly established Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining. Throughout her career an instructor, administrator and Dean at Yukon College, Shelagh has endeavored to ensure that programs and training are customized to meet local needs while maintaining national and territorial standards. Shelagh is currently engaged in PhD research that explores which ingredients are needed for economic and social prosperity in the North.