Meet Jessie Liu-Ernsting, Independent Director at Aston Bay and Principal Consultant at Keystone Resource Solutions Corp

Jessie Liu-Ernsting 4

Previously the VP Corporate Development and Investor Relations for Canada Nickel, Jessie has over fifteen years of experience in mining, spanning capital projects engineering, capital markets, private equity,  corporate strategy, and finance. Jessie worked at Resource Capital Funds, a mining-focused private equity fund, where she identified potential investment opportunities, performed due diligence exercises to evaluate and make investments, and managed portfolio companies to maximize value for all stakeholders. Prior to that, in CIBC’s mining corporate credit group, Jessie provided bank financing solutions to facilitate mining clients’ corporate, operations, and development requirements. Her experience at Hatch covered power distribution to mining and mineral processing operations around the world, the development of mining innovation ventures, and the on-site scheduling of a mega greenfield underground project. At Golder Associates, she undertook the design of paste backfill plants to facilitate ground stability, improved recovery, and sustainable tailings disposal. Jessie is a professional engineer and an active Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) member and volunteer.

As a PDAC member for over eight years, Jessie brings diversity in education, professional experience, approach (technical, investor, corporate issuer, consultant), geography, age, gender, and ethnicity to our Board of Directors. She is excited to work collaboratively with other industry associations and stakeholders to attract capable people from new and diverse areas  and improve the development and retention of talent.

Learn more about Jessie's story

What did you study and how did you end up working in Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry?
I was an electrical engineering undergraduate student at Queen’s University. After my undergrad, I followed opportunities north, to work in engineering consulting with Golder Associates and Hatch, which in Sudbury, meant mining and mineral processing capital projects. I really enjoyed the tangible, essential and global nature of the industry, the site work, the opportunity for wealth creation for local communities, and global travel to learn and appreciate diverse cultures. To leverage my existing experience in mining, I did my MBA specialization in Mining, Finance and Strategy from Schulich School of Business.

Jessie Liu-Ernsting 3How would you describe your job to someone who is unfamiliar with the title and the sector?
My over 15 years of experience in the mining, energy and infrastructure industries, span capital projects engineering, debt capital markets, private equity and corporate strategy. During my engineering career, I undertook all levels of design of power distribution to mining, mineral processing and paste backfill operations around the world, the development of mining innovation R&D projects and the on-site scheduling of a large greenfield underground mine development. Over my capital markets career, I structured over $4B of financing solutions while with CIBC’s mining corporate credit group and Resource Capital Funds. I sourced, evaluated, negotiated, executed, and managed investments, gaining expertise in a wide range of commodities such as diamonds, bauxite, gold, copper, nickel, molybdenum, lithium, cobalt, graphite, PGM, zinc and mining services.

I started Keystone Resource Solutions Corp., a private corporate advisory and business consulting practice, to provide boutique strategy, finance and economics services to all facets of the natural resources industry. We focus on developing and executing on winning strategies which maximize lasting value for all stakeholders, working collaboratively with our large network of corporate issuers, institutional asset managers, capital markets players, professional services firms and industry associations.
I worked with a mid-tier mining company’s corporate development team on a contested proxy, in collaboration with investor relations, finance, exploration and legal teams. We successfully achieved settlement with the activist investor and defended the company’s strategic priorities.
As a junior exploration company’s founding VP of Corporate Development and Investor Relations, I guided the company to go public and to achieve 14x share price accretion during my tenure.

Have there been women who assisted you in your career, perhaps even in a mentorship role?
There have been female role models whom I have looked up to, such as Pat Dillon, Deb McCombe and Jane Spooner. I also count a strong network of female professional colleagues as friends and coaches, and lean on them frequently for advice, comradery and support.

Can you share your best advice for finding a mentor in the industry? 
Work hard and demonstrate your diligence, acumen, initiative, and work ethics, and at the same time don’t be shy about asking questions and asking for advice. Potential mentors like to guide thoughtful early career professionals who are also invested in their own success.

Why do you personally care about embedding diversity and inclusion in this industry?
I firmly believe in equal opportunity for all in all aspects of life, not only for women but also other historically under-represented groups – it is a fundamental human right. In addition to building and sustaining better stakeholder value by leveraging perspectives from a diverse talent pool, the simple question is “why not?” – Why should the mining industry not embed equity, diversity and inclusion?

PDAC held its annual convention entirely virtual in 2021 for the first time in its 89-year history. How was your experience with the virtual convention? What elements do you hope to see again at PDAC 2022? 
I would like to see more diverse voices presenting at PDAC 2022. To do that, we may need to look beyond people we have heard present before and expand outside of the “chief” executive ranks.

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