When Jay Hambro was 17 his father sent him and his brother Evy to work at mines in Australia. He spent several months at a gold mine.“I suppose you could say I got the bug,” Mr Hambro says.
After stints in banking at Rothschilds and HSBC, he ended up joining his father’s gold mining company Petropavlovsk, at the beginning of what became a 12-year gold bull market.
Scions of a Danish merchant banking family — there is still a street in Copenhagen named after them — his father, Peter Hambro, had built the company after acquiring a new gold mine in the dying days of the Soviet Union. “He spent a lot of time when we were kids running around Russia looking at any number of projects,” Mr Hambro says.
But the Hambros have been hard hit by the rapid fall in commodity prices caused by China’s slowing growth. BlackRock World Mining Trust, co-managed by Evy Hambro, lost 36 per cent of its value last year. In February, Petro¬pavlovsk only just managed to raise £155m in equity from investors as it faced the prospect of bankruptcy.
“It’s a time of austerity,” says Jay Hambro, who has the well-spoken air of a seasoned banker rather than the gruff manner sometimes associated with junior miners.
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