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Meet Our Expert Speakers


The SME Arizona Conference is proud to present speakers who are experts in their respective fields with a focus on industry developments, trends and innovations specific to the Southwest.

*Please check back often for updates on speakers.

Monday December 3, 2018 |8:30 am – 9:00 am

Keynote Speaker
Sponsored by Stantec, Freeport, KGHM Carlota Copper Co. and Ames Construction

John Mansanti | President and CEO, Crystal Peak Minerals and 2017 SME President

Tariffs, Embargos, and Cartels…Oh My! A perspective on Potash

John Mansanti

Mansanti is a mining executive with over 35 years of operations and technical management experience in precious metals, base metals and potash. He is currently developing the Sevier Playa project, an advanced stage potash project in West Central Utah. Prior to Crystal Peak he was a Sr. Vice President for operations, technology and strategy with Intrepid Potash. He spent most of his career operating in the gold fields of Nevada for companies such as Barrick, Newmont, Placer Dome and Freeport McMoRan. Early in his career he worked for Kennecott in their Missouri lead and Utah copper operations.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Alio Gold.

He is a graduate of the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology with a degree in Chemistry and Masters in Mineral Processing Engineering. Mansanti was the 2017 SME President.

Sponsored By: Ames Construction, Inc., KGHM, Freeport-McMoran, Stantec


Monday, December 3, 2018 | 11:45 am – 1:00 pm

Sponsored by M3 Engineering

Justin Cross | General Manager-Bagdad, Freeport-McMoRan

Knowing When to Learn, When to Lead and When to Manage

Justin CrossThe mining industry is advancing faster than its ever had to in order to meet the needs of established and emerging economies. The role of the leader is quickly changing from one founded on technical expertise, to one founded on the ability to collaborate, to lead and to adapt to rapid changes in technologies and skill sets. It’s exciting to see folks rise to this challenge and assume responsibilities that stretch their capability; requiring them to identify when time is best spent learning, leading or managing. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to find our place in this great industry. There has been no better time to be in mining.

Justin Cross currently serves as the General Manager of Freeport-McMoRan Bagdad Operations. After graduating, Cross began his career with Freeport-McMoRan as a Rhenium Production Supervisor at Sierrita Operations in 2006. Since then, Cross has worked in a variety of operations and maintenance roles at various Freeport sites. He became the Hydrometallurgical Manager and a member of the Morenci Senior Leadership Team in 2012 at age 31. In 2014, Cross became Manager of Haulage at Morenci leading a department of 600 people and in 2016, he assumed the role of General Manager of Bagdad Operations.

Cross has championed advances in the mining industry through several key initiatives, including new product commercialization serving the solar and specialty alloy industries and large scale cathode quality improvement efforts. The cathode quality initiatives allowed Morenci to achieve LME certification for its three electrowinning tankhouses and led to best practice and cathode quality improvement across Freeport-McMoRan’s hydrometallurgical operations.

Cross defines success as being a part of high performing teams, regardless of his role. The opportunity to contribute to large scale mining operations and work side by side with people dedicated to meaningful work have been the biggest rewards of his career.

Exclusively Sponsored by: M3