Technical Team

ELL Staff, Consultants and Associates bring specialised expertise and knowledge to serve specific client needs.

Yves Bertran Alvarez, Associate

Yves is the co-founder of the consulting firm Novasud with Eva Marion. He is a consultant specialised in the small-scale and artisanal mining sector and its relationships with the industrial sector. He has been working in the mining sector for more than 20 years , starting his experience as a technical director of small-scale mining projects in Madagascar.  His expertise has widened into various areas over the years, performing exploration programs for the industry, implementing environmental impact assessments, and advising on mining public policy. He also has a strong technical background on renewable energy. His interest is currently focusing on responsible mining, through certification processes and the establishment of CSR policies. His input goes mainly in trying to tackle the issues related to ASM communities, and advising on mining policies that foster formalisation of this sector.

Yves has extensively worked in Africa, and also in Asia. His main experience is on directing technical assistance projects in the ASM sector. He has also built and implemented technical, environmental and occupational health and safety training programs adapted to artisanal miners.  His first project occurred in Madagascar on generating new supply chains, supporting on technical issues and formalising communities in coloured gemstones supply chain. He implemented a similar project in Senegal over a 3 years period. In DRC he conducted  audits of mining communities engaged in conflict free certification processes. Yves always favours the direct implication of miners to the technical, legal, environmental and social issues that are related to their activity. He tries to work from a basis of dialogue and collaboration, engaging the community into the management of their mining organisation and opportunity.

Yves hold a PhD in geosciences from the University of Paris in the domain of Deep Earth Physics and Dynamics. He works fluently in French, English, Spanish.

Yves is based in Mialet, France.

Widi Brotokusumo, Associate

Widi was a metallurgical engineer at PT. Koba Tin, Bangka Island from 2005 – 2008 before joining BPPT in 2009.  Widi has excellent local knowledge of tin mining conditions in Bangka and Belitung. He has been working with BPPT on various projects and works covering hydrogeology and mine water treatment.

Widi has been working with artisanal and small-scale miners since 2011, developing community based-gold extraction technology.

Widi is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Stephen Turyahikayo, Associate

Stephen has been active in supporting artisanal gold miners and over the last seven years he has acquired deep understanding and knowledge on complex technical and organisational challenges faced by artisanal and small scale gold miners in Uganda. Stephen has co-authored a Small Scale Miners Handbook (the first of its kind and simplified how-to-do it guide) for Ugandan artisanal and small scale miners under the World Bank funded Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP) in Uganda.

Under the SMMRP, he was also part of a training and awareness campaign committee that extended grassroots training in 17 strategic mining communities. Stephen trained artisanal gold miners in Eastern Uganda on organizational strengthening and benefits, environment management, occupational safety and health, community health, business skills and management, mining conflicts management and resolution etc. He also took part in a social and environmental assessment focusing on all active and abandoned mining areas in Uganda and this generated the required information to establish the first social and environment database on mining areas in Uganda.

He is instrumental in supporting the Ugandan mineral sector implement the six tools as part of a regional initiative against the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the great lakes region. He has extended advice to the Uganda government and mineral sector stakeholders on fast tracking the implementation of the regional certification mechanism and OECD due diligence guidance for responsible mineral supply chains from conflict affected and high risk areas. He has also successfully led discussions with government that resulted in formal acceptance of Geotraceability as the first chain of custody service provider authorized to engage with 3T and Gold producers in Uganda. He remains focused on extending technical advice, institutional capacity building and training in support of implementation of conflict minerals and transparency initiatives.

In 2007 Stephen supported and participated in the scoping study led by Estelle Levin that explained the standard zero requirements for fair trade gold across Ugandan gold mining communities as part of an awareness campaign to generate miners’ views on the standard and identify potential ASMOs that could enter a Fairtrade/Fairmined process for certification.  Stephen has a strong passion and dedication to assist artisanal miners improve their mining situation through attitude change and adopting hands on relevant best practice technical interventions and this has brought him strong admiration within the Ugandan artisanal and small scale gold mining communities.

Stephen is based in Uganda

Ruby Weinberg, Associate

Ruby is an experienced natural resources consultant with mining expertise, particularly in ecologically important and conflict-sensitive contexts. Her passion is research—whether desk research or out in the field—which she applies to scoping studies, feasibility studies, standards development, environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs), and seeking solutions for clients in conflict-affected areas.  She is particularly interested in exploring and finding solutions for the development challenges facing the mineral supply chains originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighbouring countries. Her other geographical area of interest is Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, where she recently completed a scoping and sustainability study on tin production in the Bangka-Belitung province.

Ruby applies her research and writing skills in a variety of contexts and geographies.  Some of her work includes: co-authoring a study on the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in the Itombwe Nature Reserve fin DRC for the ASM-PACE Programme, researching and writing an ASM specialist study for a Social Impact Assessment for a mining company in West Africa, and assessing ASM tin mining in critically sensitive environmental areas in Indonesia.  She is skilled in participatory methodologies, data collection, and community engagement.

Prior to working at ELL, Ruby interned for Human Rights Watch’s Great Lakes Division. Ruby has a Bachelors of Arts in International Development & French from University of King’s College and Dalhousie University, a Masters of Science in Global History from the London School of Economics and a Masters of Arts in Global Studies from Leipzig University.  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Mining Engineering, with the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada. She intends to examine the possibility for ethical micro and small-scale mining in Indonesia, in collaboration with the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute.

Ruby works in English and French and has conversational German and basic Indonesian.

She is based in Vancouver, Canada.



Kate Blacklock, Associate

Kate is a specialist in social and sustainable development, and has over 10 years of experience in the field. Working primarily within the extractives industry, projects have been undertaken for private sector clients, the United Nations (UN) and International Non Governmental Organisations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Her areas of expertise include social development, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building/training. Kate’s experience also extends to working with artisanal and small scale miners in post conflict West Africa. Projects have involved capacity building of small scale miners to enhance the transparency of the supply chain; as well as identifying and mitigating issues arising from conflict which can arise when artisanal mining interfaces with large scale mining.

Her social development experience encompasses performing: community needs assessments, institutional strengthening of community based organisations, sustainable social investment initiatives, social impact assessment including providing oversight to specialist studies such as health, human rights, indigenous people and cultural heritage; detailing mitigation and management plans, project monitoring and evaluation and planning for involuntary resettlement.

Building robust relationships amongst stakeholders is central to the work Kate performs. Carrying out detailed stakeholder analysis including mapping and evaluation of stakeholders, designing consultative processes, conducting perception surveys, stakeholder consultation and free, prior informed consultation is key to her methodology. She is skilled at carrying out stakeholder engagement in an inclusive and participatory manner and in a way that is culturally respectful ensuring that positive and sustainable interactions are established. She has good mediation skills and has a proven ability to negotiate mutually agreeable outcomes to all parties on diverse and often contentious operational matters in volatile environments. An established trainer she has good experience of performing capacity building with partners applying appropriate techniques to enable skills to be imparted successfully and all groups to participate fully.

Her experience includes compliance with international environmental and social standards and principles relating to extractive minerals including IFC performance standards, OGP member use of national, regional, international and industry standards, ICMM principles and the Equator principles.

Kate has a Masters Degree in Education and Development and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from Bristol University, United Kingdom; and a Bachelor of Arts, Joint Hons, in French and Italian from Swansea University, United Kingdom. Kate works in English and French and has a good working level of Italian and Spanish.

She is based in Dorset, UK.

Caren Holzman, Associate

Caren is the founder and director of Enabling Outcomes Ltd. and brings her expertise in corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategy to ELL.  Caren has extensive ethical trading and sustainable supply chain experience in the food, agriculture, mining, and apparel sectors and leverages her experience in standards, auditing and certification systems to help ELL clients. She develops best-practice sustainability strategies and aims to evolve ethical sourcing and sustainable supply chain management programmes. She brings a commercial perspective to ELL’s work.

Caren has been engaged in issues related to mining since 2007, when she designed and launched the feasibility study for fair trade diamonds.  She also had responsibility for Fairtrade International’s strategy for gold.  She has helped ELL’s corporate clients address social and environmental challenges in their supply chains and meet their CSR obligations and aspirations.  She has facilitated workshops, advised different multilateral organizations and NGOs on extractives industry engagement, and co-authored a study on scaling-up certification in artisanal and small-scale mining.

Prior to founding Enabling Outcomes Ltd, Caren was the London Director at SustainAbility.  She also held the role of Head of Global Product Management at Fairtrade International and was the former Director of Certification and Director of Category Management at Fair Trade USA. She has a Masters of Business Administration degrees from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and a Bachelors of Arts from Tufts University in International Relations.  Caren works in English and Spanish.

Caren is based in London, UK.

Babar Turay, Associate

Babar Turay is an experienced forester and forest-ecologist with aid-agency, NGO, and private-sector experience throughout Sierra Leone. With an applied ecology background, Babar has more than 10 years of experience in environmental management programs in Sierra Leone, in sectors such as forestry and artisanal mining and dealing with issues such as alternative livelihood programs and environmental rehabilitation. He is highly experienced in Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs), social capital assessments, stakeholder identification and engagement at all levels (villagers to high-levels of governments). Babar works as a researcher, facilitator, and analyst.

Babar has worked with Estelle and the team at ELL on artisanal diamond and gold mining in Sierra Leone on numerous occasions since 2004. From supporting clients with political risk and stakeholder engagement assignments to conducting field research on ASM in protected areas and supporting the creation of more responsible precious mineral supply chains, Babar is a wealth of expertise on the mining, development and conservation nexus in Sierra Leone.

Babar has a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science (Applied Ecology) from Njala University College (USL) in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Babar is fluent in English and the local languages of Sierra Leone including Kono (mother-tongue), Mende, Krio, Kissi, Koranko, Madingo and Susu.

Babar is based in Sierra Leone

Paul Mitchell, Associate

Paul Mitchell is the Director of Green Horizons Environmental Consultants Ltd. Paul works with industry, regulators and the NGO community to design and implement appropriate solutions to environmental and social issues.  For more than 20 years, he has worked with an extensive list of major industry, regulatory and NGO clients, with a particular focus on mining and oil and gas.  He has spent many years working with and managing teams of technical and social specialists and coordinating consultation and engagement activities with regulators, local communities and other stakeholders.  Paul uses his personnel management skills and works with technical and non-technical experts to distilling complex technical issues into practical guidance for use by non-specialist audiences.

The majority of Paul’s work has been completed to and reported against, IFC, Equator Principles and other international and financial institution standards. Much of his work has been in Africa, but he also has extensive experience in Europe, the Americas and Asia, covering base and precious metals, minor metals, industrial minerals, coal and other energy minerals, aggregates and strategic metals.  He has extensive experience in desktop and site-based environmental, social, health and safety and human resource assessments and audits.

Paul is a minerals engineer who has a PhD in the reclamation of abandoned mine land from the Camborne School of Mines.

Paul is based in Cornwall, UK.

Kathleen Charles, Associate

Kathleen is a senior SME/ASM agribusiness investment specialist, working with donors, governments, financial institutions and NGOs in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America to build and foster competitive industries. Her work helps to build and foster competitive industries through training, access to finance and creation of an enabling environment for agribusiness and artisanal mining enterprises. Through her field missions and projects, Kathleen has assessed the performance of small-medium enterprises, helping miners and farmers to maximize their business potential by assisting them in certifying their products and locating potential buyers for their products in regional and international markets. Her work has been instrumental in forging public-private partnerships that generate positive, innovative and inclusive financial schemes for entrepreneurs, taking a multi stakeholder approach for attracting external investment for mining and agriculture cooperatives.

As part of her diverse portfolio of recent assignments, Kathleen has been the investment promotion advisor for an agriculture and gold mining project in Burkina Faso, the Senior Advisor to a private bank in Tanzania promoting investment in special economic zones, gold production centers and spatial corridors. She worked as Senior Advisor to WB PRECASM Mining Sector Project in Cameroon assessing ASM credit and finance opportunities and completed an assignment as Senior Advisor to the AfDB Private Sector Department; and completed a Technical Assistance project for the Bank of Rwanda’s SME/Agriculture Department.

She conducts training courses for miners and farmer groups on business development, management of value chains, market linkages (backward and forward), credit access and mobilization of domestic resources for growing the enterprises.

Kathleen has a Masters in International Studies, Political Science, Economics and Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva; and a BA in International Relations, Science and Language from the University of California, Davis. She works in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Portuguese.

Kathleen is based in Paris, France, and she travels often on mission to Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Alain Chishugi, Associate

Alain is a Congolese artisanal mining consultant with over ten years experience of  working in and on supply chains of minerals in the Great Lakes Region for industries, development agencies and civil society organizations. Alain is always able to quickly build diplomatically positive relationships and deeply understands the social-political and economic realities that structure mineral sectors in the DRC.  He has both research and commercial experience.

Alain has conducted intensive field research in the areas of gold, tin, coltan and the wolfram in harsh situations in DRC, as well as the coordination of studies and initiatives such as the Durban process. He understands the dynamics of trade of ores in/from DRC and the needs, aspirations and views of other stakeholders.  Alain has worked on highly sensitive issues for ELL, such as illegal mining in protected areas and the cohabitation of artisanal mining and industrial operations in fragile post-conflict settings.

Previous to working as a consultant, Alain coordinated the department in charge of purchase and export of minerals within the Olive sprl company.

Alain has a college diploma in computer sciences from the  Associated Computer Science College in Nairobi, Kenya and is currently studying for a Bachelor Degree in Environment and Community Health via the Open University of the Great Lakes Region in Bukavu.

Alain is based in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Victoria Gronwald, Responsible mineral sourcing and development specialist

As the responsible mineral sourcing and development specialist, Victoria is working on a range of projects related to good governance and due diligence, with child protection being one of her main focus areas.

Victoria brings a wealth of experience in human rights and the mining industry. Prior to joining Estelle Levin Ltd. she worked with Terre des Hommes Suisse, providing research and strategic advice on children’s rights in gold mining regions and on mineral sourcing in the electronics industry. She is additionally knowledgeable on the effects of extractive industries on the rights of indigenous communities, having participated in UN conferences on indigenous people’s rights. During her time at the International Labour Organization, Victoria worked on the labour rights of domestic workers and supported the programme’s knowledge dissemination strategy. Having lived for six months in Peru where she studied fiscal policies and the impacts of the mining industry on development, Victoria brings regional expertise on the South American mining sector.

Victoria has an MA in Anthropology and Sociology of Development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (Switzerland) and is currently doing a part-time distance learning LLM in Diplomacy and International Law at Lancaster University.

She is based in the Cambridge office of ELL and has professional fluency in English, German, French and Spanish.

Gisa Roesen, Associate

Gisa’s work focuses on governance and management of natural resources in developing countries and she mainly focuses on  ELL’s conflict minerals work.  For nearly ten years she has worked on projects related to supply chain management, conflict minerals, impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation, and strategy for development programmes across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.  Gisa’s work has covered the spectrum from direct engagement at the grassroots level with vulnerable groups to advising on government policy.  She has designed management systems for clients, provided research and insight into strategy and programme design, and performed programme evaluations.

Gisa is a formidable project and programme manager and has led complex projects across various time zones and countries.  She takes a holistic approach to programme and project management which considers time sensitivities, budgets, stakeholder management, and organisational behaviour and change.  She enjoys facilitating workshops and processes with a focus on the human dimension.

Prior to her work with ELL, Gisa was a Project Leader with the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).  She has a Masters of Arts in Political Science from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität and a postgraduate diploma in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex.  In January 2014 she completed a two years training course in organisational development.   Gisa works in English, German, and Spanish.

Gisa is based in Hanover, Germany.

Yolande Kyngdon-McKay, Consultant

Dr. Yolande Kyngdon-McKay is an internal associate at ELL and has over ten years experience working in and researching multiple extractives-reliant industries, including diamonds, jewellery and electronics. Yolande is a highly skilled researcher and an experienced project manager, and she possesses exceptional communication skills, both verbal and written. Her academic and market research, field work and professional experience have ranged across a wide area, including analysing the environmental impacts of extractives activities, extractives industry governance, the ASM sector, fragile states, protected area conservation, labour rights issues, consumer education, online surveying, fair trade diamonds, supply chain ethics and sustainability, competition policy, downstream sourcing and policy analysis and development.

Yolande also has extensive knowledge of conflict minerals, including diamonds and 3TG, their related tracing and tracking initiatives and associated regulation. She has critically analysed the conflict mineral policies of some of the world’s largest electronics and diamond companies, and has also completed conflict minerals certification and auditing training.

Yolande has a BA in International Studies with First Class Honours and received full marks for her PhD on the diamond industry, which she completed at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Yolande has also recently worked as an editor of an online international relations journal, and as a Senior Fellow at an anti-human trafficking NGO.


Yolande is based in Sydney, Australia

Fabiana Di Lorenzo, Governance and Due Diligence Manager

Dr Fabiana Di Lorenzo is an experienced consultant, trainer and policy advisor specialising in due diligence, human and labour rights, and business. She has worked with multiple national governments, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and numerous private and not-for-profit organisations on projects including sustainable supply chains, governance, due diligence, employment and business support. Fabiana’s research spans regulatory frameworks, ASM, precious minerals, corruption and organised crime. Most recently she completed a PhD in Law at Kings College London focusing on strategies to tackle the worst forms of child labour in global supply chains, through public private partnerships.

At ELL Fabiana leads on internal and external due diligence practices encompassing entity, mineral and mine site risk management practices and supply chain assessment for ELL clients. Fabiana’s recent projects include:

  • Due diligence: leading on a full scale review of the due diligence processes with a major refinery, producing training material on due diligence requirements and auditing procedures to ensure suppliers understand their due diligence obligations; working on the development of the mineral tracking database solutions for the ICGLR
  • Human and Labour Rights: designed and in the process of implementing due diligence tools to facilitate human rights and white collar crimes risk assessment in mineral supply chains; setting up due diligence mechanisms to assess direct and indirect impact on children’s rights in mineral supply chains; worked for prominent hardware and software company to identify best practices in addressing child labour in their supply chain and to choose the most suitable implementing partners
  • Public private partnerships: worked on a consultancy project for the Dutch Foreign Ministry to assess the feasibility of creating the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals, EPRM to serve as a knowledge exchange platform and a vehicle to finance projects related to responsible sourcing of 3TGs (and other minerals).

At both the ILO and IMA International (consultancy firm specialising in international development) Fabiana designed and delivered training on labour rights and public-private partnerships. She also implemented global projects on the promotion of international conventions of the ILO. Her work with the Ministry of Labour in Saudi Arabia included consultation on government CSR strategies, procurement and partnerships with the private and not-for-profit sectors. In West Africa she worked with cooperatives of farmers to map their supply chain, identify market opportunities and increase turnover. In 2009 Fabiana also set up an NGO in the UK to deliver education and youth employment programmes in Benin and currently acts as Trustee.

Fabiana also worked for a central London local authority, shaping and implementing policy and programmes targeting youth unemployment and business support (including supporting SMEs to access credit and become fit to supply). Achievements included delivering a debate hosted in Parliament on the living wage, engaging private, public and third sector employers to discuss financial resilience and sustainable growth in London. She also established the Southwark Business Forum, a public private partnership which engaged 14 corporate partners to align strategies around growth, community support, employment creation and the living wage.

Fabiana holds a BA in International Development (major in economics), an MA in International Relations and Human Rights, an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a PhD in Law.

Fabiana works in English, Italian, Spanish and French. She is based between Cambridge and Frankfurt.

Andrew Cooke, Senior Manager

Andrew is a senior international minerals-sector sustainability manager and lawyer who has worked with the full spectrum of actors concerned with sustainability – corporates, governments, international & UN agencies, civil society and NGOs – and across several of the key disciplines relevant to sustainable business – law, environment, CSR, governance and finance.

Initially qualified as a biologist, Andrew trained as a lawyer and worked for 10 years as an IP and technology lawyer for multinationals before obtaining a masters’ degree in environmental management and pursuing a new career in sustainable development, working mostly in Africa, Madagascar and Oceania. Following a period mostly concentrated on the conservation and management of marine ecosystems, Andrew returned to law for 3 years (2007-10) as a partner in a mining industry specialist law firm before joining the Ambatovy Nickel & Cobalt mining and processing joint venture in Madagascar as environment manager, managing a team of over 40 qualified staff. At Ambatovy (2010-2015), Andrew developed a world-leading biodiversity offsets program in association with BBOP (Business & Biodiversity Offsets Program), winning the Nedbank Sustainable Business Award in 2014. Successful implementation of the offsets program required effective community engagement and managing interactions with artisanal miners.

In 2014 he was elected as Council Member of the Madagascar Biodiversity Foundation (FAPBM). From February 2015, he served as Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Manager for Madagascar Oil, responsible for the company’s environmental and community well-being and development programs. In February 2016, Andrew left Madagascar Oil to join Estelle Levin Ltd (ELL) as Senior Manager. Andrew works in English, and French.

Andrew is based in Cambridge, UK

Estelle Levin, Director

Estelle is the owner and director of Estelle Levin Ltd.

Estelle has over a decade of  experience unleashing the commercial potential of mineral assets to foster resilient communities and environments.  She is a researcher, educator and innovator at heart and applies her technical enquiry and her relationship management skills to create confidence and trust which underpin all of her work.  She has diverse skills in enabling stakeholders, creating clarity from confusion, and assessing risks and opportunities for leading brands, NGOs and multi-stakeholder initiatives across the mining, ICT, jewellery and conservation sectors.  Estelle is also co-founder and Technical Director of the ASM-PACE Programme, which tackles the issue of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in and around Protected Areas and Critical Ecosystems.

Her work in in this field started in post-conflict Sierra Leone in where she recognized the development necessity and commercial imperative to empower Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) communities and to leverage the supply chain for mutual benefit.  She has since used her connection to mining communities, her knowledge of the supply chain, and her passion for development and sustainability to author over 50 reports and papers on the subject, and to develop and deliver projects across the globe that support ELL’s mission of responsible mining and sourcing.  She also leverages her experience and insight to advise industry initiatives.

Estelle is co-chair of the Standards Committee for the Responsible Jewellery Council and the Technical Advisory Group for Fairtrade Gold. She is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and is an Industry Fellow at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM).

Prior to founding Estelle Levin Ltd., Estelle was a founding partner of Resource Consulting Services.  She also served as the Coordinator for the Durban Process and was the Program Assistant at Communities, Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (CASM) housed at the World Bank.  She has a Masters of Arts in Geography with a focus on sustainable development from the University of British Columbia, Canada  and a Bachelors and Masters of Arts in Geography from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Estelle works in English, French, and Spanish.

Estelle is based in Cambridge, UK.