The Northern Miner’s 1991 “Mining Man of the Year” Margaret (Peggy) Witte – by Vivian Danielson

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

When Margaret (Peggy) Witte launched her initiative to acquire and revitalize the Pamour group companies in late 1990, it was perceived in some circles as being overly ambitious if not foolhardy.

Gold prices were weak, and skeptics pointed out that she was acquiring aging, labor-intensive gold mines with production costs near US$400 per oz. And the investment community had little interest in the money-losing Giant and Pamour mines or in the complex structure of the various companies. But Witte surprised critics by completing the $35-million acquisition during a period of weak financial markets. By the summer of 1991, she managed to merge the companies into a new entity, Royal Oak Mines (TSE), which produces 200,000 oz. gold annually from operations in Yellowknife, N.W.T., and Timmins, Ont. More importantly, the restructured company is now profitable, debt-free, positioned for growth, and attracting investor interest. For this remarkable turnaround and for other accomplishments, The Northern Miner has named Witte, 38, its “Mining Man of the Year” for 1991. She is the first woman to receive the award.

Those who know Witte attribute her success to qualities that know no gender; intelligence, determination, hard work, and the ability to lead and inspire. She is charismatic without being flamboyant, and her dynamism is tempered by a practical, down-to-earth attitude that inspires confidence. She is backed by a solid team of mining professionals, including long-time business partner Ross Burns, Royal Oak’s vice-president of exploration.

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The Northern Miner’s 1992 “Mining Man of the Year” Charles Fipke – by Vivian Danielson

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

Some of Canada’s biggest and best mineral discoveries began as little more than faint hope in the hearts of a few determined prospectors and geologists. The recent diamond discovery in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories adds yet another tale of remarkable perseverance in the face of incredible odds.

The Lac de Gras area swept to international prominence in 1992, the result of a diamond discovery in late 1991 on claims held in this sub-Arctic region by Dia Met Minerals (TSE) and BHP Minerals Canada.

Geologist Charles Fipke, founder of Dia Met, is credited with the original discovery of the Point Lake kimberlite pipe where diamonds, including those of gem quality, were returned from subsequent drilling and a bulk-sampling program. The staking rush that ensued, one of the largest in Canadian mining history, continues today.

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The Northern Miner’s 1993 “Mining Man of the Year” Barrick’s Munk and Robert Smith – by Olav Svela

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

In 1983, a small oil exploration company bought a piece of an Alaskan placer mine and a half interest in the Renabie gold mine in northern Ontario. Gold production totaled a mere 3,000 oz. that year; revenue came in at roughly $1.7 million.

Ten years later, the ex-oil company, now a pure gold producer by the name of American Barrick, will crank out 1.6 million oz. and revenue in the neighborhood of US$675 million. By 1995, it should be producing 2 million oz., making it perhaps the largest producer in North America. In terms of market capitalization, American Barrick is Canada’s third-largest company, behind BCE and Seagram.

Barrick is by far the gold mining story of the past decade. This past year, it became abundantly clear its properties, already boasting reserves of 27 million oz. gold, are to rise considerably.

In recognition of the achievements of Barrick, The Northern Miner’s annual Mining Man of the Year award has two recipients in 1993 — Peter Munk, chairman and chief executive officer, and Robert Smith, president and chief operating officer.

“It is a distinct honor to be a recipient of this award,” Munk said. “But Robert Smith really deserves 100% of this, because Bob is the driving force behind American Barrick as an outstanding mining company. He recruited our team.”

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The Northern Miner’s 1997 “Mining Man of the Year” Pierre Lassonde and Seymour Schulich

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

They call themselves “miners in Gucci loafers,” — a suitable moniker for Pierre Lassonde and Seymour Schulich, considering that they make up one of Bay Street’s most financially successful gold mining partnerships. Now they have a new name: The Northern Miner has decided to name the longtime partners its 1997 “Mining Men of the Year,” in recognition of their exemplary performance and solid track record.

The two Toronto-based companies Lassonde and Schulich founded more than a decade ago to acquire gold royalties — Franco-Nevada Mining (FN-T) and Euro-Nevada Mining (EN-T)– have carved a highly profitable industry niche, producing impressive returns for shareholders. But the partners also earned their place in the rough-and-tumble mining world by meeting the challenges associated with finding and developing a new mine.

Earlier this year, Franco and Euro began construction of the Ken Synder mine in Nevada, an operation that promises to be one of the lowest-cost gold producers in the world. At the same time, the companies are keeping their hand in the exploration game by funding work in several of Canada’s foremost gold camps.

Throughout their careers, Lassonde and Schulich have demonstrated a commitment to their industry, and to society, by contributing time, energy and financial resources to many worthwhile causes.

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The Northern Miner’s 1999 “Mining Man of the Year” David Lowell and Catherine McLeod-Seltzer – by Vivian Danielson

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

Duo’s Pierina discovery epitomizes new generation of low-cost mines

At first glance, it seems an unlikely partnership. Yet the weathered, laconic geologist with several major discoveries under his belt and the down-to-earth, female stockbroker with a keen eye for opportunity collaborated to form a junior company, Arequipa Resources, that made one of the most important gold discoveries in South America this past decade.

Their Pierina discovery is now a highly profitable producer, epitomizing the new generation of low-cost gold mines able to make the grade in one of the bleakest gold markets of recent times. Officially opened on April 26, 1999, by owner Barrick Gold (ABX-T), it is now producing gold at a cash cost below US$50 per oz.

David Lowell and Catherine McLeod-Seltzer met in Santiago, Chile, in the early 1990s. She was a struggling stockbroker with Yorkton Securities, but one who knew the mining industry better than most of her peers. Her father, Don McLeod, was already a legend in Vancouver mining circles, known for his gregarious personality and gung-ho attitude toward finding, developing and operating mines. Following in footsteps that big wouldn’t be easy.

Lowell, meanwhile, was a geological legend, best known for his academic and industry expertise in porphyry copper deposits and a growing roster of major discoveries. The holder of a master’s degree in geology from Stanford University and a mining engineering degree from the University of Arizona, he has participated in more than 13 major feasibility studies and managed exploration programs all over the world. His biggest success was in Chile, where he co-discovered the huge Escondida copper deposit, now one of the nation’s largest and richest mines.

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The Northern Miner’s 2000 “Mining Man of the Year” Keith Minty – by Vivian Danielson

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

Price spike and exploration success aid turnaround at Lac des Iles

Few mines have endured a rockier road to production than Lac des Iles, Canada’s only primary platinum group metals (PGMs) mine. It is no understatement to say that many viewed its construction as the epitome of industry folly. It is no secret that many thought the maverick mine would never meet expectations. And given the track record since operations began, in the fall of 1994, it is no surprise that, until recently, skeptics mostly had it right.

Lac des Iles had more problems and produced more red ink than most mines, but it also had unrealized potential, and believers who saw the opportunity to prove the skeptics wrong. One of them was Keith Minty, president of North American Palladium (PDL-T), who launched a major exploration effort aimed at expanding the operation, situated near Thunder Bay, Ont. Corporate house-cleaning also took place under his guidance, which better-positioned the company to take advantage of the recent spike in PGM prices. Another major priority was a technical review aimed at improving mining and processing operations.

Lac des Iles is now firmly out of red and into the black, but that is only one of several reasons why The Northern Miner has chosen Keith Minty as its “Mining Man of the Year” for 2000. If mines are made rather than found, he deserves credit for helping Lac des Iles take its rightful place in Canadian mining history.

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The Northern Miner’s 2001 “Mining Man of the Year” Grenville Thomas – by James Whyte

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

Perseverance may not always find its reward, but for a mining man and explorationist that knows the North, the development of the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories is a rich reward for persevering for 30-odd years in the Arctic.

Grenville Thomas, our Mining Man of the Year, was the original driving force behind the Diavik project, now under development by Diavik Diamond Mines, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (RTP-N), and Aber Diamond (ABZ-T), the company Thomas founded. As an explorationist, entrepreneur, and a well-liked and well-respected mining man, Thomas is seeing a long career culminate in one of the biggest successes in recent Canadian mining history.

Welsh-born Thomas came to Canada in 1964 as a young mining engineer and worked for Falconbridge, first at its Sudbury operations and later at the Giant gold mine in Yellowknife. Setting up shop as a consultant, he became a specialist in mineral projects in the Northwest Territories and ultimately assembled a stable of his own properties.

Thomas incorporated Highwood Mines (later Highwood Resources) in 1975, and by 1979 it was a publicly traded junior, with three of Thomas’s Territories prospects — the Thor Lake rare-metals deposit, the Thye Lake copper-nickel deposit, and the Victory Lake massive sulphide property — as its principal assets.

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The Northern Miner’s 2002 “Mining Man of the Year” Goldcorp’s Robert McEwen – by James Whyte

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

The Northern Miner’s Man of the Year in 2002, Rob McEwen of Goldcorp (G-T), has probably squeezed more shareholder value out of a small number of assets than anyone else in the gold business.

McEwen, as chairman and chief executive officer of the mid-tier gold producer, has built one of the strongest contenders in that field with an aggressive attitude coupled with an uncommon gift for timing. As a company, Goldcorp has used the resurgence of the gold market as a springboard to top-level status among comparable-sized North American gold producers.

McEwen’s association with the mining industry, and more particularly its financial-markets side, runs deep. His father, Donald, was a financial analyst and investment manager who started his own firm, McEwen Securities, in 1967, after a long association with Equitable Securities and before that, Crown Life. One of the firm’s first in-house offerings was Goldfund, an investment fund that held gold, gold equities, and gold-backed securities. The fund did much to make gold investment available to the individual investor.

The younger McEwen took over leadership of the companies his father had founded, with the keystone company, CSA Management, as the principal holder of control blocks in other companies, including the nascent Goldcorp Investments. Interestingly, today’s firm non-hedger put Goldcorp into the gold-lending business in 1987, at the peak of the flow-through era when gold mines were going into production at a fast pace.

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Aboriginal Community Development with the Resource Sector Annual Conference – Opening Comments – By Hans Matthews, President of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association

The Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA) is an Aboriginal, non-profit organization which seeks to increase the understanding of the minerals industry, Aboriginal mining and Aboriginal communities’ paramount interests in lands and resources.

Developing Minds, Managing Resources – November 2, 2008 (Saskatoon, Canada)

There are now more than 120 agreements in Canada between Aboriginal groups and mining companies. We are at a stage where it has almost become the norm for companies to negotiate agreements to gain access to the community, community lands and to initiate programs and services around environmental management, human resource (HR) development, business development, social planning and so on.

In addition, communities are receiving a share of revenues from mining projects and play a role in certain decision making with the company (generally in HR, environment, infrastructure planning, mine closure, and so on). Many communities, in the past, have not been exposed to such an extent to the mining industry as they are now, given the prominence of the industry (‘super cycle’), consultation requirements (government requirements), land settlement agreements (comprehensive land claim agreements) and impact/benefit type agreements.

As the momentum was created over the past five years in response to record commodity prices, more lands being acquired by resource companies and more Aboriginal communities engaging in benefits agreements with companies, we also saw a significant flaw in the process.

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The Canadian Government’s Flawed Climate Change and Clean Air Plan Avoids Economic Reality – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

The climate change issue has always been unique among environmental challenges in that, more than any other issue, it is a direct byproduct of our modern lives.

Other high profile environmental issues generally have a limited set of contributors and an obvious choice of fixes. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, for example, implicated emitters of chlorofluorocarbons and was addressed through technological improvements to air conditioners and refrigerators.

Acid rain was caused by pollution from a relative handful of coal-fired power plants and smelters and was addressed through introduction of technologies to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions. Local water pollution problems, such as in the Great Lakes or nearby rivers, also offer relatively easy solutions—invest in better wastewater treatment, some new storm sewers, and a few marine regulations, and the problem is on the way to resolution.

Unfortunately, climate change does not hold the promise of such an easy fix. Indeed, in one critically important respect, it resides at the opposite end of the spectrum from previous environmental challenges. Simply put, climate change is caused not by a few “bad actors” but by the everyday actions of average people.

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The Northern Miner’s 2005 “Mining Person of the Year” – Virginia Gold Mines’ Andre Gaumond

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

Intense. Passionate. Tenacious. Shrewd. Visionary. These are the words that come to mind when describing The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year: Andre Gaumond, president and CEO of junior explorer Virginia Gold Mines.

Gaumond is a graduate geological engineer from Laval University in Quebec City and holds a master’s degree in economic geology from Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Early in his mining career, from 1987 to 1990, Gaumond worked as a mining analyst for several financial institutions, including Pemberton Securities and Midland Walwyn.

He then joined Corpomin Management as a technical and financial consultant, where he held management positions in various mineral exploration companies.

In 1993, Gaumond reorganized Virginia Gold Mines, assumed the title of president, and moved its head office to Quebec City — not a mining centre, but a picturesque city, ideal for his young family.

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The Northern Miner’s 2006 “Mining Person of the Year” – Ivanhoe Mines’ Robert Friedland

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

The world’s top athletes, scholars, artists and gurus all talk one way or another about the importance of finding and then living in that narrow zone that exists at the very limits of your intellect and abilities. But “working your edge” is a trickier thing in practice: staying too close to the familiar may lead you to stagnation and complacency, while transgressing too far across your normal boundaries can leave you broken and disconnected.

The business world, too, has its share of people who’ve lived and prospered “at the edge,” and we can think of no better example in our own industry than The Northern Miner’s “Mining Person of the Year” for 2006: Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman and founder Robert M. Friedland.

While there were other worthy candidates in this very busy year for the minerals industry, Friedland’s luring of British major Rio Tinto in October into a partnership to develop Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia’s South Gobi region struck us as a defining moment in one of the world’s biggest mineral-development success stories of the past decade.

(We’ve been covering Oyu Tolgoi’s astonishingly rapid advancement under Friedland’s direction since we first visited it in 2001, and its latest parameters can be seen on page 2 of this issue. Look next week in these pages for another in-depth, on-site report.)

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The Northern Miner’s 2007 “Mining Persons of the Year” – Agnico-Eagle’s Sean Boyd and Eberhard Scherkus

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

No company better embodies the spirit of Canada’s plucky gold mining sector today than Toronto-based Agnico-Eagle Mines, with its technical competence, unshakeable faith in gold, independent streak, and proven ability to execute truly visionary growth.

While Agnico-Eagle’s astonishing success over the past decade is the result of a team effort, the pair who have been leading the company in the boardroom and at the mine site during this exceptional period are the co-winners of our Mining Person of the Year award for 2007: Agnico-Eagle’s vice-chairman and CEO Sean Boyd, and president and chief operating officer Eberhard (Ebe) Scherkus.

Unlike the peripatetic career paths of many in the business, both Boyd and Scherkus have spent most of their working lives at Agnico-Eagle, and have maintained an admirable humility about their lofty positions and seven-figure take-home pay packages, perhaps having been tempered by living through several gold price cycles and seeing fate dish out equal amounts of heartache and glory.

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The Northern Miner’s 2008 “Mining Persons of the Year” – Aurelian Resourses’ Patrick Anderson, Keith Barron, Sephen Leary – by John Cumming

 John Cumming MSc (Geology) is the editor of the Northern Miner, Canada’s global mining newspaper.  jcumming@northernminer.com

Our “Mining Person of the Year” award for 2008 goes to the trio of Patrick Anderson, Keith Barron and Stephen Leary for their leading roles in the discovery, swift development and sale of Aurelian Resources’ spectacular, 13.7-million-oz. Fruta del Norte gold deposit, part of the Condor project in remote, southeastern Ecuador.

All three men are exploration geologists who brought varied backgrounds and plenty of passion to the task at hand at Fruta del Norte (FDN).

Anderson graduated from the University of Toronto’s geology program and, since then, has racked up over 14 years of experience as a geologist, entrepreneur and business executive. He’s worked for a variety of mining and exploration companies and consulting firms on gold, base metals and diamond projects in South America, North America and Europe.

Anderson was co-founder, president, CEO and a director of Toronto-based Aurelian Resources, prior to its takeover by Kinross Gold — a $1.2-billion offer launched in July and completed in September. Anderson now sits on the boards of Noront Resources, Colossus Minerals and U3O8 Corp.

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Mining Association of Canada – Pre-Budget Submission – President and CEO Gordon R. Peeling

December 18, 2008
The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Finance Canada
L’Esplanade Laurier
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5

Dear Minister Flaherty:

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with the views of the Canadian mining industry in light of the significant turbulence that has affected our sector and the broader global economy in recent months. This follows from our earlier letter, sent to you on August 15th.

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is the national organization of the Canadian mining industry, comprising companies engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. As detailed in our earlier letter, the industry contributed $42 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2007, employed 363,000 workers in the four phases and paid approximately $10 billion in taxes and royalties. While important in remote and northern communities, the industry also generates prosperity in our cities – for example, Toronto features a hub of expertise in mining finance, Vancouver in exploration, Montreal in aluminium and iron ore, Edmonton in oil sands and Saskatoon in uranium and potash. Over 3000 suppliers draw benefit from the industry, including engineering and environmental firms, railroads, ports, and equipment companies.

The mining industry has been severely impacted by the major dislocations seen in the global economy since September. The global nickel price has fallen from over $16 per pound in 2007 to less than $5 at present. Uranium has fallen from $99 to $55, aluminum from $1.20 to $0.80, and copper from $3.20 to $1.70 per pound. US market demand has plummeted and Chinese market demand shows negative signals. Canadian operating mines have been closed, planned mine expansions have been deferred or cancelled, and investment in processing facilities has been postponed. Many important companies have seen stock price declines exceeding 50% and in some cases over 90% – all firms are engaged in serious cost-control measures.

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