Van Eck Global today announced that Imaru Casanova has joined the firm’s investment team as Senior Gold Analyst. At Van Eck, she will serve as a member of the investment teams responsible for overseeing the International Investors Gold Fund (INIVX), the first gold mutual fund, which traces its roots back to 1968; Global Hard Assets Fund (GHAAX); and Van Eck VIP Global Hard Assets Fund, which collectively had $6.6 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of December 31, 2011. Van Eck’s hard assets investment team is now comprised of 12 members. Van Eck has been a leading sponsor of gold-based investment products since its founding in 1955. In addition to mutual funds, the company is the sponsor of two gold-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs): Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE Arca: GDX), the first ETF focused on the gold mining industry, with approximately $8.7 billion in AUM, and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE Arca: GDXJ), which invests in junior gold companies and has approximately $1.9 billion in AUM, both as of December 31, 2011. “For more than 55 years, Van Eck has been a leader in investing in gold and other hard assets,” said Joe Foster, portfolio manager of Van Eck’s International Investors Gold Fund. “Though we have grown substantially over that time, our commitment to gold as an asset class has been unwavering. We will look to continue to add resources and explore new concepts with an emphasis on gold that are designed to meet the needs of investors.” Ms. Casanova brings more than 15 years of industry experience to Van Eck, including both a technical and investment background. Prior to joining the company, she worked as managing director and senior equity research analyst at McNicoll Lewis & Vlak, where she was responsible for establishing the metals and mining research department, with a focus on under-covered and undiscovered precious metals companies. Before that, she covered the gold mining sector as an equity research analyst at Barnard Jacobs Mellet USA and BMO Capital Markets.