During the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony held in Toronto in January, master of ceremonies and Franco-Nevada chairman Pierre Lassonde shared a story of a fateful encounter he once had with Brian Meikle, the late Barrick Gold geologist. Meikle was one of the five inductees of the evening, in part for his role in discovering Barrick’s company-making Goldstrike gold deposit in Nevada, where Franco-Nevada acquired one of its first royalties.
Below is a transcript of Lassonde’s remarks, as well as his final goodbye as he relinquished his MC duties after 18 years. Lassonde was inducted into the CMHF in 2013.
I said earlier I was going to share a story about Brian Meikle. I wouldn’t be standing here tonight if it wasn’t for Brian. And I’ll tell you why.
After the Goldstrike discovery, Franco-Nevada stock had gone from 65¢ to $17. And my partner Seymour Schulich and I, we had decided, well, why don’t we sell Franco-Nevada and do it all over again? And we even created a new company called Euro-Nevada.
We were one day from signing the document for hiring the banker for the sale of this thing, when I was invited to go up to the opening of the Barrick Holt-McDermott mine.
I showed up there, and, you know, I had my gold helmet and I smelled of the nouveau riche, strutting around like I had made it. I mean, I was still young, and you know what.
And I bumped into Brian, and said, “Brian, you know, we’re just going to sell Franco-Nevada and do it all over again.”
He looked at me, and he then looked at me right in the eyes and said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”
I was thinking internally, “What, are you kidding me? I’m going to put millions in my jeans, and I don’t know what I’m talking about?”
He said, “No. This is not the discovery of a lifetime. This is the discovery of three lifetimes.”
Then he just turned around and left me right there.
For the rest of the day, I could not take that out of my mind. That evening, I could not sleep.
The next morning, I showed up at the office and I told Seymour the story, and said, “You know what Seymour? He’s 100% right. We will never have the chance to build a company with an asset like this ever again in our lifetime.”
That day we fired the banker and made the decision to build Franco-Nevada.
Thank you, Brian, for your golden words of wisdom.
The formal part of the evening is over, but before you run anywhere, I do have to tell you something a little bit personal.
Tonight is my last appearance here as your master of ceremonies, as I have decided to join the “time’s up” movement. If you can’t beat ’em, join them.
It’s been a privilege and an honour to be your master of ceremonies for the past 18 years, as we’ve inducted over 100 men and women — legends — to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.
I want to thank you all for year after year coming here, showing up, and showing your support for this great event. I always knew I could count on you to be forgiving, supportive, and above all, just plain fun.
In the true tradition of the one-year-old time’s up movement, I will leave you in the hands of a much younger, brighter and gender-neutral master of ceremonies in the person of Anthony Vaccaro, publisher of The Northern Miner Group.
[Editor’s note: Franco Nevada’s original US$2-million investment in the Goldstrike royalty has so far gone on to generate more than $1 billion in cash flow, and Franco-Nevada today has an $18-billion market capitalization.]