Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.
Peter Allen, president and chief executive officer of the Little Long Lac group of companies, smiles self-consciously as the photographer maneuvers around his office, snapping picture after picture. Mr. Allen obliges the request for “just one more shot,” but when the session is finished, he breaks into a spontaneous grin of relief.
Except when facing a camera, Mr. Allen smiles easily – and with good reason. He is seemingly only a few steps away from realizing his ambition to take Little Long Lac, whose fortunes have changed as frequently as the price of gold, into the mining major leagues. This year, with the gold price stalled at $US400 an oz., he has doubled his company’s operating income compared with 1980’s. This financial feat follows the start-up of two new gold mines in the past three years. And at a boyish 41, Peter Ackerman Allen is the youngest Man-of-the-Year ever selected by The Northern Miners.
He may also be the least-known recipient. Certainly the group of companies that he controls has been well-publicized in the past year, through its successful but initially controversial policy of selling gold forward., through subsidiary’s Willroy Mines’ $21.4-million lawsuit against New Cinch Uranium, through $12 million in dividend payments while other companies were cutting or dropping them altogether, and through the corporate reorganization completed in the fall.