Frank Giustra likes to see big where others think small. The Canadian mining maverick’s latest target is a subterranean patch of red earth in southwestern Mexico. In January his new undertaking, Leagold Mining Corp., bought the Los Filos mine from Goldcorp Inc. for $350 million. It wasn’t the open pits churning out 200,000-plus ounces of the precious metal that caught this attention — it was the untapped deposit stretching for roughly 600 meters below.
“We just looked at it and thought: This is a jewel,” Giustra, 59, said in an interview at his downtown Vancouver office, where a George Rodrigue blue dog painting hangs at the entrance. The plan is to use Los Filos to build “a major gold producer over the next two, three, four years,” he says. “Unless the world changes dramatically, I think we’ll pull it off.”
Giustra has a track record of finding the sparkle in the dirt. He’s used what he calls a grow-by-acquisition model to help build Endeavour Mining Corp. as well as a predecessor to Goldcorp, which is now one of the largest gold producers and Leagold’s biggest shareholder.
In his spare time, he founded Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., which became one of the world’s biggest independent studios. Giustra now spends about 20 percent of his time trying to grow his wealth across a slew of interests ranging from an Italian olive estate whose oils have been voted among the planet’s best, to Thunderbird, the film production company behind the upcoming Blade Runner sequel.
The bulk of Giustra’s time is spent trying to give money away in partnership with Bill Clinton, a close pal, and George Soros. Vancouver-based Leagold marks a return to the resource sector after a half-decade hiatus while financing for new projects had dried up amid an extended commodities downturn.
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