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Directors & Management

Maxwell Francis Venning

Non Executive Director
Mr Venning first became a director in 2002 when elected by growers to Ausbulk and United Grower Holdings. Eighteen months later in 2004 became chairman and led Ausbulk through the acquisition of Abb Grain a smaller ASX listed company which after a reverse take over became the surviving entity. Abb Grain owned seven grain export terminals had a statutory monopoly on the export of barley in SA and Victoria, owned malt manufacturing company Joe White Malt. Grain storage and feed mills in New Zealand and numerous container packing facilities.

Mr Venning was deputy chairman of ABB Grain until the company was acquired by Canadian grain company Viterra in September 2009 He served on the Viterra board for thirty nine months and up until Viterra was acquired by Glencore in 2012

Mr Venning has served on board committees

  • Finance and audit
  • Human resources and compensation
  • Safety health environment and sustainability

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Norman Hilton

Non Executive Director
Mr. Hilton was a senior partner of international accounting firm Touche Ross (now Deloitte & Touche globally) where he spent 20 years in Australian, Canadian and USA offices. He was a founding partner of the Financial Services Division of the Australian firm (since merged with KPMG). He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, management buy-outs, capital raisings, IPO’s and joint venture structuring in most business sectors, both locally and overseas.

In the late ‘80’s, he was Finance Director and then Managing Director of Beach Energy, a major ASX listed oil and gas exploration and production group with operations in Australia, UK and USA. For the last 22 years he has been engaged as principal of his own corporate advisory firm, Profin Consulting, providing capital solutions and strategic business advice. He also has wide experience in the preparation of independent expert’s reports in the areas of business valuation, due diligence reviews, economic loss and associated forensic accounting briefs.

In recent years, his focus has been on transactions in the mining, financial services, property and information technology industries where he has strong industry expertise and deep networks, both locally and in Asia.

Mr Hilton has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales, is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and holds a number of non-executive directorships. He is also an advisor to the Indonesia Australia Business Council.


Adele Bekirovski

Executive Director
Ms Bekirovski has over thirteen years of management experience in Resources, Fashion, and Financial sectors; Adele is an accomplished Management Executive.

Ms Bekirovski has been a keen and driven individual and has established and managed office business and information systems, infrastructure and administrative processes that enable the organisation to consistently deliver and achieve quality standards, on time and within budget.

In recent years, her focus has also been in assisting the Managing Director and Chairman in the day-to-day management of the organisation so that high level strategy and finance objectives are reflected appropriately in Business Planning and work allocation decisions.

Ms Bekirovski has a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology degree from Macquarie University, Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences (Counselling Studies), University of South Australia and a Diploma of Mortgage Lending.

Ms Bekirovski is a former director of Astra Mining Pty Ltd.


Ms Silvana De Cianni

Executive Director
As Managing Director and co-founder of Astra, Ms De Cianni is responsible for the company’s strategic direction, growth and development. Ms De Cianni has guided Astra from what was principally a resource commodities business to a diversified global asset and technology development company that reaches into India, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Africa and Australia.

Ms De Cianni is an internationally experienced business executive with a proven track record in the mining industry. With many years of experience in contract mining, corporate finance, mining project development and commodities management, Ms De Cianni has a unique understanding of the global resources and mining services industries.

She has undertaken extensive management of complex financial and corporate activities, and has had significant exposure to the investment, mergers and acquisitions, broking and commodities sectors, making her ideally positioned to identify and successfully capitalise on opportunities for Astra.


Dr Jaydeep Biswas

(BE, PhD, MBA) Co-Founder
Dr Jaydeep Biswas (BE, PhD, MBA) is co-founder of Astra, and responsible for guiding the company in its future direction and long-term growth. Dr Biswas is behind the tactical execution of the Astra vision through to a successful Frankfurt stock exchange listing.

Dr Biswas brings a wealth of international business experience from the past 20 years with a distinguished career with the Royal Dutch Shell Group of Companies in Europe and Asia Pacific, including running its Corporate Planning and M&A operation in Australia. Since 2001, he has been involved with advising and directing early stage companies including sustainable development company EnergyMad Ltd.Dr Biswas adds significant commercial mining and finance expertise invaluable in the rollout of the Astra business. His expertise includes mining tenement acquisition, budgets and strategic plans; liaising and negotiating with mining departments and other officials; negotiating directly with foreign governments and joint venture partners; sourcing geological, management and statutory reports; and presentations to companies, stockbrokers and financial institutions.

Dr Biswas was born in India and maintains business and political relationships in that country that facilitate the growth of Astra and its subsidiaries in the region. Dr Biswas holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and Ph.D. from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Queensland University of Technology.

Mr Jan Peter Sloane

Chief Financial Officer B.Comm (Melb Uni), FCA, CTA.
Mr Sloane is Chief Financial Officer of Astra. He supervisors the finance function of the Astra and is responsible for providing operational support to the Company. He assists the CEO on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to budget management, forecasting needs and securing funding.

Mr Sloane brings a wealth of financial and business experience having been involved in the last 26 years as Chief Financial Officer of JGL Investments Pty and controlled entities involved in Manufacturing, Refining, Distribution, Retailing, Owning commercial and industrial property, Property development, Owning and leasing of residential property, Importing and exporting of goods and services, Share-market trading and investing, and Venture Capital activities.

Mr Sloane also has extensive audit and accounting experience having worked with KPMG and predecessor firms for over 13 years.

Dr Laszlo Kiss

Steel Developer – Technical Manager
Dr László Kiss, a graduate of the Hungarian University of Heavy Industry, completed the Steel Manufacturing and Blast Furnace technology engineering course in 1953. He was employed by the Diósgyőr Steel Works (later Lenin Steel Works, DAMM, DEMAG), one of the largest steel works in Europe at that time, where he worked as a research engineer, technical manager, General manager and held various other senior posts until the sale of the factory complex in the late 1990s.

Dr Oszkar Grega

Steel Developer – Technical Manager
Dr Grega is a Chemical Engineer and holds a number of degrees including Post Graduate Degree Matallurgy, a Degree in Euromanagment, and a Ph.D.

He is a member of the Committee of Metallurgy, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), a Technical and Production Manager for DAM STEEL, a long established Hungarian steel manufacturer and a Special Adviser for Corus Steel for the privatisation tender of Dunaferr.

Vladimir Petrovich Sevastyanov

Director of Scientific R&D of Interecotech Pty Ltd
Director of Astra Coal Technology
Mr Petrovich Sevastyanov is a Director of Scientific R&D of the Interecotech Pty Ltd, and a founder of the Russian Sun Pty Ltd (Novosibirsk). He has over 35 years experience across a wide range of sectors including development of highly automated chemical processes for the production of epoxy compounds, development of power converter technologies and tracking systems, special purpose motors and control automation and power systems, technologies for thermal power plants, development of digital robotics and weapons systems, integrated design of automated production of coal-water based fuels and solar power generation systems.

Previously Mr Petrovich Sevastyanov was a Managing Director of Oil Technology Pty Ltd (Novosibirsk) and held a position of a Director of Scientific and R&D with SibEcoEnergo Pty Ltd (Novosibirsk), leading project of the Helioairbaric Thermal Electric Station – a new solar power generation technology.

He holds a large number of USSR-Russian author’s certificates and patents, mainly in clean coal and renewable power generation technologies and is the inventor of the method for Generation of Electricity by PseudoDetonation Coal Slurry Gasification Combined Cycle (ICSGCC). Mr Petrovich Sevastyanov has a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from Novosibirsk Polytechnic Institute, majoring in electric power generation and transmission systems.

CA Satya Narayana Mohakhuda

Director – Astra Minerals (India) Pvt. Ltd., B Com(Hons), ACA
Mr. Satya Narayana Mohakhuda, S/o Shri Kamal Lochana Mohakhuda aged about 38 Years is a resident of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and financial consultant. He has more than 15 years of experience in the field of Accountancy, Audit, Finance, Healthcare, Education, Infrastructure Sector, Hi-tech Agricultural Projects.

He has successfully handled execution of 500 Beded Super speciality Hospital and Medical College at Tripura India, many housing, social infrastructure and road projects in India and Maldives.

As a key financial expert, his participation in arrangement of funds/ working capital, cost analysis of the projects together with the exploration of newer avenues of investment is instrumental in the growth of the company.

Rocky Young

President and Operations Director/General Manager of CRCDC Phillipines
Mr Young possess extensive managerial and directorship skills and experience across various industries such fishery and construction in the Philippines.

Milicent Smith

CRCDC Lawyer
Ms Smith possess extensive legal experience with over 40 years in relevant industries. Her experience is underpinned by a Bachelor of Laws form Adamson University in the Philippines.

Florian Young

CRCDC Chairman
Ms Young has been involved in the construction and fishery industry. Her experience is underpinned by a Bachelor of Science, Marketing.

Nancy Aguinaldo

Executive Assistant – Philippines
Ms Aguinaldo has public and media relations experience through her role with the Home Development Mutual Fund (Philippine Provident Savings and Housing Loan Program ) where she coordinated with different Government Offices and Private Corporations/Individuals on behalf of the Agency, and conducted information dissemination/media campaigns through TV and Radio broadcasts. Ms Aguinaldo has organised events and created new Programs for the Institution and supervised personnel

Sunday Abraham

Operations Manager, Nigeria
Mr Abraham has extensive experience in banking operations and marketing management working on the planning, research and development of free energy projects and direct prototyping for various products. Mr Abraham has directed and managed all operations including 20 employees and reported to the CEO and held full profit and loss accountability. During his past experiences he has managed plants in four different locations, established stringent operations budgets and manufacturing labour standards.

Godfrey Osizemete Austin

Geologist, Nigeria
Mr Osizemete Austin has over 10 years experience as a geologist and has held a number of roles on a variety of projects in Nigeria. He has held positions at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, GMO Technical Nigeria, Izom Clay & Brick Company and for Western Goldfields Group. Mr Osizemete Austin is an independent consultant to solid mineral title holders and investors as both a Mineral Tenement Manger, arranging the acquisition of mineral deposit sites and mining title applications, and a Mineral Deposit Site Developer, providing geological mapping and studies.

Ferenc Rinyu and György Jakab

Developers, Carbony Technology
Mr Rinyu and Mr Jakab are the developers of the Carbony Technology. It was developed by Stirling Hungary, a small special purpose technology company specialising in environmental engineering, energy transfer and renewable energy products. The developers have also worked on various energy related products for Austrian and German interests. Stirling is also an accredited NATO supplier. They have partnered with Astra in order to assure that the gas mixture separation project can have world wide exposure and appropriate international marketing structure.