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Take part in the most innovative regional mining conference in the Southwest and meet industry professionals leading the way in technology and process development.

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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

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

John G. Mansanti is a graduate of the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology with degrees in Chemistry and Mineral Processing Engineering and serves as President and CEO of Crystal Peak Minerals Inc. He has been a Director of Crystal Peak Minerals Inc. since March 2018, a Director of Alio Gold Inc. since May 2018 and a Director of Rye Patch Gold Corp. since July 2017.

Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Technical Services at Intrepid Potash, Inc. from January 2015 to August 2017, Senior Vice President of Operations from November 2011 to January 2015 and Vice President of Operations from October 2009 to November 2011. Mansanti joined Intrepid in October 2009, from Barrick Gold Corporation, where he served as General Manager at the Goldstrike Mine in Carlin, Nevada. He has held various engineering and management positions in the mining industry for the last 30 years of his career.

Mansanti has almost 40 years of experience in the management of mining operations and projects. He is recognized for his commitment to safety and achieving results through positive work relationships. In addition to eight years of experience in the potash industry, Mansanti has worked for Barrick, Placer Dome, Getchell Gold, Newmont, Santa Fe Pacific Gold, Gold Fields Operating Company, Freeport-McMoRan and Kennecott. His experience spans all levels of site and corporate operations, from exploration through product sales, to project permitting and compliance.

Mansanti is an active member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) and is the 2017 SME President. While working in Nevada he was also active in the Nevada Mining Association (NMA) and served as the 2006 president of the association. He has received multiple awards recognizing his leadership and technical skills, and published multiple technical papers and a chapter on potash processing.

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


Justin Cross | General Manager-Bagdad, Freeport-McMoRan

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.