True Leadership is in Short Supply

True Leadership is in Short Supply

In our connected age, there is no shortage of ideas, beliefs, or perspectives that can amass a following. But what makes a true leader? At Sandstorm, we believe true leadership is built on principles of trust, integrity, authenticity, and goodwill. These guiding values influence every decision we make, from our investments to the people we hire. As a result, we’re proud of the company that Sandstorm is today and of the people behind it who are making a positive impact on the world around them.

Nolan Watson

Nolan Watson didn’t always envision himself as a businessman. From a young age, his parents instilled values of compassion and benevolence, which developed into a passion for humanitarianism. With a driving force to help people, Nolan realized early on that he might be more useful if he built a solid foundation as a business leader with an understanding of how organizations and global economies work.

By age 26, Nolan had accomplished more than most. As the youngest CFO of any New York Stock Exchange-listed company, he used his resources to develop and launch a grassroots organization in Sierra Leone that provides free, world-class education to children, developing them into self-sustaining, successful leaders in their communities—an organization that is still thriving today. While many would have considered these achievements more than enough, Nolan was seeking the next adventure.

In 2008, at the depths of the Global Financial Crisis, Nolan co-founded Sandstorm along with his business partner, David Awram. With Nolan’s financial and business acumen and David’s geological and technical expertise, the two of them set out to build a royalty company that would not only compete with the very best in the business but would reshape and propel the industry forward. As they’ve grown the company over the years, the same core values that motivated Nolan from a young age, have been the building blocks for Sandstorm.

Royalty companies exist in a space that overlaps mining and financial markets—two industries that have historically attracted unethical players looking to make a quick buck on the backs of others. It is rare and refreshing to discover a company run by individuals who hold themselves to a higher standard. Nolan’s view on leadership might be summed up in the phrase, expect excellence, demand integrity. His desire is for every team member to do their best and hone their craft, but above all else, to lead with integrity and compassion.

David Awram

It was David Awram who first conceived the concept of Sandstorm. While working at Silver Wheaton (now Wheaton Precious Metals), Dave saw the extraordinary potential within the royalty business model and asked his fellow colleague and good friend, Nolan Watson, if he would be interested in starting a new royalty and streaming company. It wasn’t just the success of Wheaton that Dave and Nolan felt they could replicate—they also desired to push the business model further and reshape the landscape of mining finance.

Always up for a new adventure, it was Dave’s entrepreneurial spirit that helped launch Sandstorm. However, it is his charisma, perseverance, and genuine care for people that have shaped the successful company that Sandstorm is today. Dave’s character and integrity are woven into the fabric of the company and reflected in the team that he and Nolan have built over the years.

Dave has worked tirelessly over the decades sifting through technical studies and evaluating prospective investments. As a Geologist, Dave is most at home when he’s surrounded by nature and conducting site visits. It’s this level of “boots on the ground” experience that has contributed to his success in the mining industry. Beyond the rocks, it is his care and concern for the people and communities he works with that has made him an admirable leader. Always looking out for your best interest, Dave’s desire is to see people grow and prosper—whether you’re a local miner, a Sandstorm shareholder, or you’re fortunate enough to call him a friend.

Erfan Kazemi

Erfan Kazemi grew up in a home where excellence was encouraged, and integrity was valued above all else. Raised by his mother who was a chemist and his father an engineer, the importance of education was instilled in Erfan at a young age. With a passion for numbers, Erfan studied mathematics at university and became a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.

His love for business was formed during the early years of his career at a global accounting firm where he quickly became a rising star and laid the groundwork for a move into the mining industry. During his tenure as a Senior Manager, Erfan met Nolan Watson and heard about Sandstorm—a new royalty company he was building. Drawn to the company’s young, vibrant management team and entrepreneurial nature, Erfan knew it was an environment where he could thrive and contribute in a meaningful way.

As Chief Financial Officer of Sandstorm for over a decade, Erfan has been instrumental in navigating the company’s rapid growth into a multi-billion-dollar company. Beyond his financial and negotiation expertise, Erfan’s leadership philosophy permeates Sandstorm’s corporate culture. He is a firm believer that you can accomplish great things if you surround yourself with hard-working, intelligent people who are ethical. With a natural gift for mentorship, Erfan is passionate about discovering people with raw talent and nurturing those individuals into the next generation of leaders.



Sandstorm is a company built on experience. Our award-winning executive team has completed billions of dollars in royalty transactions, and our corporate development team is continually seeking out new investment opportunities. Our in-house technical team has worked on projects in over 100 countries and has decades of industry experience. Use the directory below to learn more about Sandstorm’s leadership.

Nolan Watson


President, CEO and Director

Since co-founding Sandstorm Gold in 2008, Nolan Watson has led the company’s transformation from a small startup into a diversified royalty company with a billion-dollar market capitalization. Prior to co-founding Sandstorm, Nolan was Chief Financial Officer of Silver Wheaton Corp. (now Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.) where he gained the experience that he needed to make Sandstorm a reality and a success. During his time there, Nolan developed the silver streaming business model and helped raise more than US$1 billion in debt and equity to fund the company’s growth.

Nolan is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (Valedictorian). He holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst and received a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with honours, from the University of British Columbia.

Nolan’s professional and charitable achievements are not without their honours either. He was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, awarded CEO of the Year by Business in Vancouver, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, Nolan was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is also the President of Nations Cry, a charity focused on education-based development in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

David Awram

B.Sc, Geologist

Sr. Executive Vice President and Director

David Awram co-founded Sandstorm Gold in 2008. Through his contributions to capital raises, technical due diligence, and corporate development, David has been instrumental in growing the company from a start-up to a leading mid-tier royalty company. Before starting Sandstorm, David served as Director of Investor Relations at Silver Wheaton Corp. (now Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.) where his role included corporate development and investor relations during Silver Wheaton’s dramatic growth into a multi-billion dollar company.

As Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Sandstorm Gold, David brings a wealth of experience to every acquisition. He has been involved in billions of dollars worth of royalty financings and has evaluated hundreds of resource projects, including on-site due diligence at mines all over the world. David is a graduate of the University British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.

Erfan Kazemi


Chief Financial Officer

As a former Senior Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Erfan Kazemi brings years of experience to the Sandstorm team. Since coming on board as Chief Financial Officer in 2011, he has helped raise over a billion dollars in equity and debt financing to grow the company. Plus, on top of handling financial reporting and compliance matters, Erfan plays a critical role in the success of Sandstorm’s royalty investments through his responsibilities on the corporate development front and the company’s investment committee.

He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA), a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder, and a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.

In addition to serving as Sandstorm’s Chief Financial Officer, Erfan also serves in the community. He is the former Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Public Library board of directors and former member of the Library’s Foundation board. He is also a former member of the University of British Columbia board of directors.

Erfan is not without his share of accolades and has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, named by the Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s 50 best executives, awarded Business in Vancouver’s CFO of the Year, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia’s Early Achievement Award and Community Service Award, and the University of British Columbia Alumni Association’s Outstanding Student of the Year Award.

Tom Bruington

P.E, M.Sc.

Executive Vice President, Project Evaluation

Tom Bruington heads up Sandstorm’s technical due diligence team and brings years of experience to the company. Before joining Sandstorm as Executive Vice President, Tom Bruington was Chief Engineer/Industry Specialist for the International Financing Corporation’s (IFC) mining division and was in charge of business development, technical appraisal, and operational supervision of the IFC’s resource investments. During his 12 years in this role, Tom completed 100+ project appraisals in more than 60 countries and helped start the IFC’s Early Mining Equity fund which subsequently grew to more than US$300 million in size.

In addition to his time at the IFC, Tom has 20 years’ experience working with precious metal, base metal, and energy projects around the world in a variety of roles, including the design, construction, and operation of mills and mines. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering, and a Master of Science in Mineral Economics, all from the Colorado School of Mines.

Ian Grundy


Executive Vice President, Corporate Development

With a background in capital markets and equity research, Ian brings a deep knowledge base of the metals and mining financial markets to Sandstorm. Prior to joining Sandstorm in 2018, Ian worked for several Canadian equity research teams covering the gold, base metal, and basic materials industries. This included helping to grow Scotiabank’s base metals franchise into Canada’s top ranked research team, as recognized by Brendan Woods International. Ian’s broad industry experience and investment acumen make him a key player in Sandstorm’s corporate development team. As EVP, Corporate Development, Ian leads the corporate development team growing Sandstorm’s asset portfolio in sustainable ways that benefit shareholder and corporate interests.

Ian is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and a graduate of Queen’s University where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours). He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.

Ron Ho


Sr. Vice President, Finance

Ron Ho joined Sandstorm Gold in 2009 as the company’s first employee and has been a major contributor in the acquisition of many of our foundational royalty assets. Before making the move to Sandstorm Gold, Ron was in the silver business as Chief Financial Officer for SNS Silver Corporation. While there, he contributed to equity capital raises and project evaluation. Prior to that, Ron held the position of Equity Analyst at Raymond James Ltd. where he was responsible for institutional research.

Ron is a Chartered Accountant and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst. He received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia.

Imola Götz

M.S.c, P.Eng.

Vice President, Mining & Engineering

Imola Götz is a Senior Mining Engineer with over 25 years of experience in both underground and open-pit mining environments. An expert in developing Life of Mine Plans, strategic business plans, and comparative economic evaluations of mining projects, Imola has led an impressive career with senior roles at Goldcorp, Newmont, and most recently at Eldorado Gold.

Imola is a Professional Engineer licenced in both Ontario and BC, and a Fellow of the Association of Engineers Canada. In addition to being an active member of the Canadian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (CIMM), she is also a “Qualified Person” as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101. Imola earned a Bachelor of Education in Mathematics and General Science from Lakehead University, a Masters of Science in Mine Engineering from the Technical University of Petrosani, and a Financial Agility Diploma from Queens University.

As a skilled educator, Imola has established partnerships with Canadian Mine Engineering Schools and has guest lectured at Queens University and Laurentian University. She has authored, co-authored, and presented works at the CIMM Conference, the US Mine Ventilation Symposium and the World Mining Congress on various topics including women’s leadership in the mining industry.

Keith Laskowski

Mining Geologist, MSc, QP

Vice President, Geology

Keith Laskowski joined Sandstorm after working as Staff Engineer/Principal Mining Specialist for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) where he led technical appraisals and valuations for the IFC’s resource investments.

Outside of his role at IFC, Keith has financed and directed several successful private and publicly listed exploration companies in Peru, Mongolia, Haiti, Mali, the United States, and Canada. Earlier in his career, he spent 17 years with Newmont Mining Corporation, which included senior roles managing gold production, exploration, resource development, and acquisitions.

Keith has a Master of Science degree in Geology from the Colorado School of Mines, a B.A. degree from the University of Maine, and is a “Qualified Person” as defined by NI 43-101 of the Canadian Securities Administrators.

Livia Danila


Vice President, Corporate Controller

Livia Danila joined Sandstorm in 2016 where she provides leadership and oversight on financial reporting, tax, regulatory, and human resource matters. She brings over a decade of experience in financial reporting and analysis, business process improvement, corporate restructuring, complex financial system implementations and tax compliance and planning across multiple industries, particularly mining, finance and technology. Prior to her role at Sandstorm, Livia worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers where she led assurance and consulting engagements for some of the firm’s largest clients including a global financial institution and a multi-national medical device company.

Livia received a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with honour roll standing on the Uniform Final Evaluation.

Sarah Ford


Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis

Since 2016, Sarah Ford has played an integral role in Sandstorm’s compliance and regulatory communications. Sarah has been instrumental in the financial analysis and viability of some of Sandstorm’s largest royalty acquisitions and investments, lending her accounting expertise to Sandstorm’s corporate development efforts. As the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) lead, Sarah directs the creation and implementation of innovative ESG policies for the company. Before joining Sandstorm, Sarah worked domestically and abroad with Deloitte LLP, working with corporations through mergers and acquisitions and identifying future growth opportunities.

Sarah is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with honour roll standing on the Uniform Final Evaluation, a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder, and a graduate of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction).

Kim Bergen


Vice President, Capital Markets

With nearly a decade of experience in capital markets and corporate development, Kim Bergen has held various positions in the finance and mining industries. Kim joined the Sandstorm team in 2012 as Financial Analyst where she assisted in evaluating various investment and acquisition opportunities. As a part of Sandstorm’s corporate development team, Kim developed a deep understanding of the company’s portfolio and underlying assets. As VP, Capital Markets, Kim’s team is responsible for all corporate communications and managing Sandstorm’s existing portfolio of royalty assets, while also providing insight and support to existing shareholders and prospective investors.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with honours) from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in Finance. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.

David E. De Witt


David De Witt is a founding partner and the Chairman of Pathway Capital Ltd., a venture capital company that has successfully incubated, financed, and grown several resource companies. As Chairman of the board at Sandstorm Gold, David brings decades of invaluable experience. He has been director and officer at several publicly traded companies, and he practiced corporate, mining and securities law for 20 years. David graduated with a BComm/LLB from the University of British Columbia.

John Budreski


John Budreski is the Executive Chairman of Morien Resources Corp., a bulk commodities royalty company. He is also the Executive Chairman of EnWave Corporation, a dehydration technology company. John has over 35 years of experience in the resource and resource financing industries including extensive capital markets and executive management experience. He has a professional history of advancing and accelerating businesses as well as tangible engineering experience. He was formerly a Vice Chairman of Cormark Securities Inc. and President and CEO of Orion Securities Inc., prior to its successful sale to Macquarie Bank.

John holds an MBA from the University of Calgary and received his Bachelor of Engineering from Dalhousie/TUNS University. He is also a Director at NuLegacy Gold Corporation and Colossus Minerals Corp.

Vera Kobalia


Vera Kobalia is currently an AsiaGlobal Fellow at the University of Hong Kong. Previously, she was an International Doing Business Advisor for the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance in Jakarta, Indonesia and also held the role of Deputy Chair of the Board for the Astana Expo 2017 National Company in Astana, Kazakhstan. Between October 2012 to November 2013, Ms. Kobalia was Advisor to the President of Georgia on issues of economic and foreign policy in Tbilisi, Georgia. Prior to this appointment, she held the government position of Minister for the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia in Tbilisi, Georgia.

In addition to being a visiting lecturer at the European Academy of Diplomacy in Warsaw, Poland, Vera is the founder of the “Coalition for Justice”, a non-profit organization which promotes the rights of internally displaced persons in Georgia through advocacy, education and research. She is fluent in English, Russian and Georgian and frequently speaks at international conferences and forums, including the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy, the World Economic Forum, the Warsaw Security Forum and the International Transport Forum. Her topics of expertise include public policy issues, fighting corruption in public and private institutions, sustainable development as an economic growth tool, and women leadership. Vera holds a diploma in Information Technology Management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). In 2019, Vera was recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 award winners. The award highlights the achievements of B.C.’s outstanding young entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals.

Elif Lévesque


Elif Lévesque was one of the founders and Chief Financial Officer of Nomad Royalty Company Ltd. until Sandstorm’s acquisition in August 2022. From June 2014 until February 2020, she was Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Finance of Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. Prior to this, Elif was Vice President and Controller of Osisko Mining Corporation and contributed to the finance function at Osisko since 2008.

Elif has over 20 years of experience with Canadian and U.S. listed companies, including 18 years with leading intermediate gold producers (Cambior Inc. 2002-2006 and Iamgold Corporation 2006-2008). Ms. Lévesque is a member of the board of directors of G Mining Ventures Corp. and chairs its Audit and Risk Committee. She is also a member of the board of directors of Cascades Inc. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), a member of the Ordre des Comptables Professionnels Agréés du Québec, holds an MBA from Clark University (Massachusetts, USA) and has an ICD.D designation.

She is a fundraiser for the Women’s Centre of Montreal, a non-profit organization. Elif was the winner in the category “Financial executive of a small or medium enterprise” in the 2018 Aces of Finance competition held by FEI Canada, Québec Section and was named as one of the “Top 100 global inspirational women in mining”, 2018 edition of Women in Mining in the UK.

Mary L. Little


Mary Little has been an independent geological consultant for natural resource companies since 2014. Mary was the founding CEO of Mirasol Resources Ltd., a precious metals exploration company focused in Latin America, where she led Mirasol’s growth as a prospect generator and its corporate development activities from 2003 to 2014. Prior to this, she held leadership positions such as business development manager and country manager for major mining companies, including Cyprus Amax, WMC Ltd. and Newmont Exploration, while based for 15 years in Latin America.

Mary serves as a board member of Pure Energy Minerals Limited and Tinka Resources Limited, and is president of the Denver Region Exploration Geologists’ Society. She holds a Master of Science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

Andrew T. Swarthout


Andrew Swarthout is currently the Executive Chairman of Bear Creek Mining Corp., a multi-asset silver company based in Peru, and has a wide range of experience in financing, evaluating, exploring, permitting and completing studies on resource projects. He has helped raise over US$250 million in equity financing for Bear Creek. Under his management, the company has discovered two world-class silver deposits with combined reserves in excess of 450 million ounces, making Bear Creek Mining a leading emerging silver producer.

Andrew has been responsible for a number of discoveries, including two major porphyry copper discoveries as Vice President of Exploration for Southern Peru Copper Corporation. Andrew graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Geosciences degree and he is a Professional Geologist.

A Brighter Way to Invest in Gold

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