Chris Taylor is our Mining Person of the Year for 2021 – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – March 2, 2022)

Global mining news

Great Bear Resources president and CEO Chris Taylor was the stand-out choice for The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year award for 2021.

The 44-year-old structural and economic geologist not only sold the company and its Dixie gold project in Ontario’s Red Lake district to Kinross Gold in December for $1.8 billion, but in the three years of due diligence leading up to the acquisition, Taylor and his team also managed to set off what he calls the “largest staking rush” in Red Lake’s history.

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Endeavour Mining CEO Sebastian de Montessus is our Mining Person of the Year for 2020 – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – February 18, 2021)

Global mining news

Completing two major acquisitions in one calendar year is a significant achievement by any measure but to do so in the midst of a pandemic makes it even more remarkable – which is one of the reasons why we have chosen Endeavour Mining CEO Sebastian de Montessus as our Mining Person of the Year for 2020.

Last March – just as Covid-19 started turning the world upside down – Endeavour announced the friendly acquisition of Semafo in an all-share deal valued at US$716 million – adding two cornerstone mines (Boungou and Mana in Burkina Faso) to its already sizeable portfolio of mining operations in West Africa.

The deal made Endeavour not only the largest gold producer in Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso but the largest gold producer in all of West Africa, with more than 1 million oz. of gold production a year.

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Kirkland Lake Gold’s Tony Makuch our Mining Person of the Year for 2019 – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – February 20, 2020)

Global mining news

Tony Makuch, president and CEO of Kirkland Lake Gold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2019. Under his leadership, Kirkland Lake Gold has outperformed its peers in the last 24 months. The company’s shares rose by 60% last year, it raised its dividend twice and more than doubled its cash position, ending 2019 with US$707 million in cash and equivalents.

Kirkland Lake Gold operates two of the highest grade gold mines in the world and produced a record 974,615 ounces of gold in 2019, a 35% year-on-year increase, anchored by its Macassa mine in Ontario, Canada and its Fosterville mine in the state of Victoria, Australia. It also produces gold at its Holt complex – a trio of mines (Holt, Taylor and Holloway) in Ontario.

Consolidated operating cash costs fell 22% year-on-year to US$284 per oz. sold, while all-in sustaining costs declined 18% to US$564 per oz. sold. Net earnings jumped 104% year-on-year to US$560 million or $2.67 per share, and free cash flow totalled US$463 million, an 81% increase over 2018.

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SolGold’s Nick Mather our Mining Person of the Year for 2018 – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – February 27, 2019)

Northern Miner

Nicholas Mather, president and CEO of Australian junior SolGold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2018 in recognition of his role as the driving force behind the wildly successful grassroots team that has drilled off the world-class Alpala gold-copper deposit at its Cascabel project in Imbabura province in northern Ecuador, with potentially many more discoveries to come in the region.

The past year was a pivotal one for Toronto- and London-listed SolGold. In November 2018, it tabled an updated resource for Alpala that tallied a staggering 2.1 billion indicated tonnes grading 0.41% copper and 0.29 gram gold per tonne, or 0.60% copper equivalent (at a 0.2% copper-equivalent cut-off), plus another 900 million inferred tonnes grading 0.27% copper and 0.13 gram gold, or 0.35% copper equivalent, at the same cut-off. These numbers are based on 133,600 metres of drilling.

That translates to a contained metal content of 8.4 million tonnes copper and 19.4 million oz. gold in the indicated category, and another 2.5 million tonnes copper and 3.8 million oz. gold in inferred.

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Agnico Eagle’s Sean Boyd is TNM’s Mining Person of the Year – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – February 27, 2018)

The Northern Miner

As we look back at the career so far of Sean Boyd — Agnico Eagle Mines’ vice-chairman and CEO, and The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2017 — the opening words of Rudyard Kipling’s poem If come to mind: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …”

In the context of Boyd leading one of the world’s great gold mining companies, “keeping your head” translates to his playing a vital role in keeping Agnico secure and on track through its relentless growth phase during the tumultuous 2010s.

This all happened while almost all his competitors in the gold industry went through near-corporate-death experiences brought on by construction cost overruns, exploding operating costs, ballooning debt and technical nightmares that led to multibillion-dollar writedowns, asset sales and the swift departures of a string of CEOs, who had been filled with hubris only a few years earlier.

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Robert Friedland goes to Hollywood – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – April 24, 2017)

One of Robert Friedland’s pet peeves is that as people move away from the country to the city they become divorced from the supply chain and no longer understand where things come from. They don’t realize, he says, that everything they touch is either grown or mined. Take a look at everything around you, he urges, “we either mined it or we grew it—there are no exceptions.”

“Most people who live in urban environments think a ham sandwich comes from a refrigerator—they don’t really visualize all those pigs being slaughtered in a river of blood outside Chicago,” he adds.

“Most people don’t realize that when they walk into a dark room and turn on the light, somewhere a generator has to kick in and give them that power, because there’s virtually no storage of electricity in the grid. We think miners have to do a much better job of explaining how fundamental we are to improving this world. That’s why we have gotten into Hollywood—that’s why we are in the movie business.”

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Robert Friedland: Celebrating a lifetime of achievement – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – April 24, 2017)

Over most of the last two decades, the first voice Peter Meredith would hear at the crack of dawn each morning was Robert Friedland’s. “The phone would ring and he would say: ‘Hi Peter, it’s Robert,’ and I’d think, ‘What a surprise, who else calls me at six in the morning?’”

Meredith, who retired as a partner at auditing firm Deloitte in Vancouver to join Ivanhoe Mines full-time in 1996, says that over the following sixteen years, he was pretty much a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day guy, to keep up with his boss.

“Robert doesn’t take weekends off and he doesn’t like holidays much … He is a very energetic, driven guy—he knows no boundaries as to how hard he works—so the tone from the top is that you feel like a non-contributor when you aren’t working as hard as he is.”

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Matt Manson our Mining Person of the Year – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – March 1, 2017)

There’s something to be said for being first. And Matt Manson, The Northern Miner’s choice as Mining Person of the Year for 2016, bears the distinction of guiding Stornoway Diamond through a daunting, decade-long journey to open Quebec’s first diamond mine — Renard — in the province’s remote Otish Mountains.

Along the way, through two industry downturns and without a major mining company as partner, Manson capably managed virtually every aspect of the mining game: property acquisition and company consolidation; grassroots exploration; feasibility studies and mine permitting; project financing; mine and infrastructure construction; community relations; building and leading a workforce; production ramp-up; and product marketing.

Manson, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, earned a B.Sc. degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1987, and came to Canada to pursue graduate studies and complete a PhD at the University of Toronto in 1996.

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Barrick’s Munk Heads Top Ten Most Important Mining Men in Canadian History – by Stan Sudol

Melanie and Peter Munk
Melanie and Peter Munk

An edited version of this list was published in the February/March issue of the Canadian Mining Journal.

Four Americans Made the List!

A few months ago, my dear colleague Joe Martin, who is the Director of the Canadian Business & Financial History Initiative at Rotman and President Emeritus of Canada’s History Society, asked me a very simple question: who would be considered the most important individual in Canadian mining?

Considering Canada’s lengthy and exceptional expertise in the mineral sector, it was not an easy answer and I decided to research and create a top ten list of the most important mining men in Canadian history.

The lack of women on this list simply reflects the fact that for much of our history most women were not given the educational or social opportunities to excel in business, especially in a rough and male-dominated sector like mining. Times have changed, women are playing key roles in mining today and will definitely be included on this list in the future.

However, a few qualifiers need to be established. This is basically a list of mine builders not mine finders.  Building a company through takeovers and discoveries is one way but I am also focusing on individuals who have built corporate empires and/or who have developed isolated regions of the country with the necessary infrastructure for mines to flourish and create multi-generational jobs, shareholder wealth and great economic impact.

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Lukas Lundin our Mining Person of the Year for 2015 – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – March 3, 2016)

The sage investing advice to “buy low and sell high” is a simple concept, but exceedingly hard to pull off in real life over and over again. Our Mining Person of the Year for 2015, mining executive Lukas Lundin, has repeatedly bought low and sold high throughout his career in many commodities and regions, and has accomplished the equally challenging corollary of building and growing companies during industry downturns.

Born in 1958, Lukas Lundin has led a quintessential cosmopolitan life, with much of his childhood spent in Sweden and Switzerland, followed by his earning an engineering degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1981.

In 1982, Mr. Lundin headed International Petroleum Corp.’s oil and gas operations and was based in Dubai from 1990 to 1995.

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Norman B. Keevil: A lifetime of achievement at Teck – by Anthony Vaccaro (Northern Miner – May 19, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

In 1979 The Northern Miner named Norman B. Keevil its Mining Man of the Year, citing the impressive string of mine constructions he presided over in the 1970s. Since winning that award Dr. Keevil went on to ensure Teck was part of some of the biggest mining projects over the next 30 years, such as Hemlo, Voisey’s Bay and Antamina.

At the same time Dr. Keevil and his team were building Teck into one of the world’s largest producers of metallurgical coal. For this unparalleled track record and for his unchallenged reputation for honesty, fair dealing and supportiveness, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the Miner can find no person more deserving than Dr. Norman B. Keevil to be the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1939, scientists Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard sent a letter to U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt after three German scientists in Berlin split the atom.

The experiment put the Nazis on a path to building the atomic bomb, and knowing this, Einstein and Szilard compelled Roosevelt to counterpunch — with the Manhattan Project.

The point man for the project was to be Harold Urey, the leading scientist on isotope separation. One of Urey’s first tasks was to assemble a team of leading scientists to help beat the Germans in the race for the atomic bomb.

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Probe’s David Palmer our Mining Person of the Year – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – February 25, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

When the discovery of a new gold patch rocks the mining world, it is a wondrous thing. When the discovery is made in an underexplored area with no previously known precious metal deposits it’s even more exciting, and when the discovery stems, in part, from a simple good deed, it becomes extraordinary.

The tale of how David Palmer discovered the Borden Lake gold deposit and earned the prestigious Bill Dennis Award and title to The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2014 begins in 2003, about four years after he graduated from McGill University with a PhD in economic geology.

The geologist, whose PhD thesis focused on ore-forming hydrothermal fluids associated with carbonatites, was working for a junior, when a prospector he didn’t know by the name of Bob de Carle, pitched a nickel property called Sunday Lake, north of Thunder Bay.

The property didn’t fit the company’s model, so it passed. But Palmer thought it still held promise. His view was that the material just hadn’t been presented in the right way, which masked some of what he felt were its most interesting features. So he offered to spend some personal time reworking the geological data to improve the odds that de Carle — a geophysicist by training — could find success the next time he shopped it around.

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TNM’s 2013 Mining Persons of the Year: Fission’s Ross McElroy and Dev Randhawa – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – December 23, 2013)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry. Editor John Cumming MSc (Geol) is one of the country’s most well respected mining journalists.

Since the days of the Manhattan project, there have been three conventional rules for finding uranium mineralization in Saskatchewan: it occurs in the Athabasca basin, usually in the lowest sandstone unit that’s in contact with the basement rock; the best place to look is in the eastern part of the basin; and the shallow stuff has all been found, so you need to go deeper into the basin to find more.

Well, the new Patterson Lake South ultra-high-grade uranium discovery by joint-venture partners Fission Uranium (TSXV: FCU; US-OTC: FCUUF) and Alpha Minerals turns all that conventional wisdom on its head: the deposit is 8 km outside the southwestern edge of the basin in a relatively unexplored area, and it lies almost at surface, covered only by glacial overburden and a shallow lake.

And for this, we are awarding our 2013 “Mining Persons of the Year” to Fission president and COO Ross McElroy, the technical point man on the discovery, and Fission chairman and CEO Dev Randhawa, who has ably guided the company through not one, but two major corporate overhauls in a single year.

Ross McElroy is a veteran geologist with an uncanny ability to place himself at the heart of the discovery of high-grade Canadian mineral deposits.

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The Northern Miner’s 2012 Mining Person of the Year: Garofalo a steady hand on the Hudbay tiller – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – December 19, 2012)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry. Editor John Cumming MSc (Geol) is one of the country’s most well respected mining

In these times of economic and political turmoil, boring has become the new exciting.

With mining companies of all stripes running aground on the shoals of cost overruns, nationalization movements and environmental opposition, any executive that manages to guide a company to fiscal health, sustainable growth and positive community relations stands head and shoulders above his peers. And so this year, Hudbay Minerals president and CEO David Garofalo is our Mining Person of the Year for his fine job in making Hudbay a standout success story amid the dwindling list of mid-tier base metal miners.

Garofalo is a accountant by training, with a B.Comm. from the University of Toronto and a Chartered Accountant designation. He started out in 1990 as treasurer of Inmet Mining before joining Agnico-Eagle Mines in 1998 and becoming CFO in 1999. That was back when it only had one gold mine — the pre-expansion LaRonde in Quebec’s Abitibi region — and penny pinching was the order of the day, as gold traded for just US$250 per oz.

Garofalo helped Agnico nail down financings that allowed the company to grow prudently through mine expansions and asset purchases, without having to hedge production in a rising gold environment. In 2009, a year in which Agnico raised about a billion dollars, Garofalo won the award for “Canada’s CFO of the Year,” an honour that’s usually handed out to CFOs from much larger and more established Canadian companies.

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John Zigarlick Jr. – The Northern Miner 1984 “Mining Man of the Year” – by Patrick Whiteway

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

Working at the leading edge of gold mine development in North America is Echo Bay Mines of Edmonton under the quiet, confident leadership of President John Zigarlick Jr. – our choice for Mining Man-of-the-Year.

 While some goldmines struggle under the pressures of falling gold prices, Echo Bay is one of the companies always looking ahead, using new ideas to explore for and mine low-grade oxidized deposits of the southwestern U.S. and the high-grade sulphide deposits in the Canadian far north.

Born in Winnipeg and raised in the northern mining town of Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Mr. Zigarlick is no stranger to the north where the majority of Echo Bay’s interests lie. His knowledge of the north and the ability of people to work there was, no doubt, the source of his confidence in opening up the far north to mining activities previously thought to be either impossible or virtually uneconomic to even attempt.

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