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Ian Ball, 32, was just promoted to president of McEwen Mining Inc. in ageing world of mining.
When Ian Ball was 5, he earned an allowance moving rocks from the lawn of his Bowmanville, Ont., home back onto the gravel driveway for his parents.
It turned out to be quite a training ground. Lately, the 32 year old has been spotted driving a 100-tonne haul truck at the silver mine he discovered in Mexico, and the Bay St. hotshot makes a nice allowance for his work in this field, too.
But the road from junior rock picker to the top floor of Brookfield Place as the new president of McEwen Mining Inc. took a number of twists and turns — not the least of which is that he never planned on getting into the gritty gold mining game in the first place.
“I was a horrible student. I barely graduated high school,” Ball recalls candidly in an interview, impeccably dressed in a dark grey suit and golden yellow tie with his hair perfectly slicked back.
He’d also been fired from every other job he’s had prior to working for Canadian gold mining legend Rob McEwen in 2004. Of course, he was just a kid then, working the floor at Zellers and Esprit.
Ball notes the problem was that he simply didn’t respect his other bosses. But that would change dramatically when he was working on his commerce degree at Ryerson University and read an article in a business magazine about his future employer.
“Rob’s a genius. I have the utmost respect for him. A lot of this (success) is due to him,” says Ball, who had some luck investing in penny mining stocks after high school on the recommendation of a close family friend.
The future tycoon was fascinated by how McEwen, founder of Goldcorp Inc., recognized the untapped potential of the old Red Lake mine in Northern Ontario and made his fortune turning his business into one of the top gold mining companies in the world.
So Ball finagled an impromptu meeting with the renowned entrepreneur in the lobby of Goldcorp’s former King St. W. office — “I kind of stalked him,” he jokes — and then tracked his presentation schedule until he finally got to hand him his resume plus a study he did on the Toronto firm in his spare time.
Ball landed an interview and the mining magnate — who prides himself on cultivating young talent in the aging industry — offered him a job on the spot. Ball paid his dues doing basic office tasks in investor relations and even a stint underground at Red Lake.
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