Ian Ball, the 35-year-old chief executive of Abitibi Royalties Inc. with a reputation for being a disruptor in an aging industry, has a radical — if not novel — thesis on how to reinvigorate excitement for gold mining: a return to the days of “one company, one mine.”
In other words, Ball, who first bought gold stocks with his allowance at the age of five and became president of McEwen Mining Inc. when he was 31, yearns for the golden days of mining.
“You look back to the great fortunes that have been made in Canada, it’s always been one mine per company: It was Goldstrike: Barrick; Red Lake: Goldcorp; LaRonde: Agnico Eagle,” he said. “When they started diversifying was when the returns started to go down.”
The industry is in need of bold ideas amid a 2017 gold price outlook that isn’t much better than 2016, when many, Ball noted, thought the bull market would return. It didn’t.
Gold prices ended the year up 8.5 per cent, but the gain was won in the first half of the year as prices finished the year around US$1,150 an ounce, down 16 per cent from their July peak.
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