In 2018 the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame will induct four new members to its ranks: Ross J. Beaty, Robert A. Gannicott, A. Terrance MacGibbon and Edward G. Thompson. The thirtieth annual induction dinner will be held the evening of Jan. 11, 2018, at Constitution Hall in the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The Northern Miner is a cofounding sponsor of the Hall of Fame, along with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, the Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada. For more information and for tickets to the event, please visit www.mininghalloffame.ca.
Ross J. Beaty
The career achievements of Ross Beaty are as multidimensional as the man and the companies he founded and led over almost four decades. He is first and foremost a geologist with a passion for exploration and a discerning eye for projects with economic potential. He is one of Canada’s most successful mining entrepreneurs, with 13 of his companies creating an estimated $6 billion of shareholder value since 1994. He built his flagship — Pan American Silver — into one of the world’s largest silver producers, with seven mines in Latin America. Beaty is also one of the most influential people in the global mining industry for his pragmatic support of environmental causes, ability to build bridges with civil society and remarkable legacy of philanthropy.
Born in Vancouver, Beaty earned a B.Sc. degree in Geology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1974 and a degree in Mineral Exploration from the Royal School of Mines at the University of London in 1975. He returned to UBC and earned a law degree in 1979.
Beaty built his namesake contract geology company and a team of 30 geologists before launching Equinox Resources as his first junior company in 1985. He developed three mines before selling Equinox to Hecla Mining in 1994, then founded, developed and sold eight other juniors into the new century. These included Lumina Copper, which he split into six companies and sold in a series of transactions that generated nearly $2 billion of shareholder value.
Beaty founded Pan American in 1994, based on his belief that silver would be an essential metal of the future and continue to attract investor interest. He kept the faith during the downturn of the late 1990s, assembled mines and deposits at low prices and unlocked their value as markets and metal prices improved. Pan American grew to become the second-largest primary silver producer in the world, with seven mines, 6,500 employees and a current market value of $3.3 billion.
An ardent environmentalist, Beaty started a geothermal power company in 2008 that merged to form Alterra Power in 2011. Alterra operates nine geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectricity plants in Canada, Iceland and the United States. He also established the Sitka Foundation, which distributes $3.5 million annually to support more than 72 environmental organizations. He helped conserve the Britannia Mine Museum and was a major donor to UBC, which led to the creation of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, the UBC Earth Sciences Building and the Pacific Museum of the Earth. In 2017, Beaty and his wife Trisha donated $4 million to the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, and $5 million to Queen’s University to support research into freshwater resources.
Beaty’s achievements and philanthropy have been recognized by the mining industry and beyond. Among other awards, he was presented the Viola R. MacMillan Award for company or mine development by PDAC in 2010, and received the CIM Vale Medal for meritorious contributions to mining in 2014. In 2017, Beaty was inducted to the British Columbia Business Hall of Fame and appointed to The Order of Canada.
Robert A. Gannicott
Robert (Bob) Gannicott was a pioneer of Arctic mineral exploration and a visionary entrepreneur who helped unlock the downstream value of Canada’s fledgling diamond industry. He played a pivotal role in the discovery and development of the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories for Aber Diamond Corp. in the 1990s, and led Aber’s later acquisition of luxury jeweller Harry Winston to help promote the exceptional quality of Canadian gem diamonds.
With Gannicott as chairman and CEO, Aber evolved into Harry Winston Diamond Corp. in 2007, and became Dominion Diamond Corp. in 2013. In a bold move in 2013, Gannicott sold the retail division of Harry Winston to acquire an 80% interest in the Ekati mine, which, combined with 40% of Diavik, transformed Dominion into Canada’s largest independent diamond producer. It was the first time a Canadian company owned a majority share of a Canadian diamond mine, along with value-added sorting and marketing operations in Canada, Belgium and India.
Born and raised in England, Gannicott immigrated to Canada in 1967, and found his first job at a gold mine in Yellowknife. His career compass continued to point north after he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Ottawa in 1975. He joined Cominco as an exploration geologist working mostly in the High Arctic, for example at the Black Angel lead-zinc mine in Greenland. In 1986, he formed Platinova, which discovered the Skaergaard copper-gold and Citronen Fjord base metal deposits in northern Greenland. The latter has been described as one of the world’s largest undeveloped zinc-lead resources.
Gannicott’s Arctic experience helped pave the way for his entry into diamond exploration. He and a group of colleagues formed a private company, West Viking Exploration. It merged with Aber Resources after staking and exploring ground near the first kimberlite diamond discovery made by Dia Met Minerals in 1991. Aber’s subsequent Diavik discovery attracted Rio Tinto as an operating partner, leaving Aber with a 40% interest. Gannicott is credited with ensuring Aber’s survival and subsequent evolution into Dominion Diamonds.
Gannicott’s vision to acquire Harry Winston put Canada on the world stage as a producer of both luxury-branded goods and rough diamonds, and earned him the reputation as “Canada’s first diamantaire.” His partial consolidation of Northwest Territories diamond production from Ekati and Diavik formed the base for Canada to become the world’s third-largest producer of rough diamonds by value.
Gannicott helped ensure the integrity of the new industry by chairing a commission to develop guidelines for reporting diamond exploration results — since adopted as a best practice by the Ontario Securities Commission and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM). He was an advocate for the people and communities of the Far North and early in his career created a namesake foundation to help the indigenous people of the Northwest Territories.
Gannicott received the CIM Vale Medal in 2005 and Members Award in 2007 for his role in building and sustaining Canada’s diamond industry. He was a corecipient of AME BC’s Hugo Dummett Award for excellence in diamond exploration and development in 2013.
A. Terrance MacGibbon
Few modern-era exploration geologists have transitioned to company builder and mine developer as successfully as Terry MacGibbon. He applied the expertise and experience gained over a 30-year career with nickel giant Inco to build four substantial mining companies: FNX Mining, Torex Gold Resources, TMAC Resources and INV Metals. He acquired non-core assets from major producers for each of his companies — starting with past-producing properties in Ontario’s Sudbury basin for FNX — and made a series of discoveries later developed into seven mines. Along the way, he earned a reputation as a financially astute entrepreneur, innovator and all-round role model for the Canadian mining industry.
Born in New Waterford, N.S., MacGibbon earned a B.Sc. (Geology) from St. Francis Xavier University in 1968, before joining Inco’s exploration department. He was an early advocate of the Voisey’s Bay discovery in Labrador, later acquired by Inco, and supported other discoveries as he climbed the ranks, culminating in him directing global exploration.
After leaving Inco in 1997, MacGibbon acquired five “non-core” past-producing properties in the Sudbury basin from his former employer for FNX, which went on to make eight discoveries and place five deposits into production. FNX was the best performer on the Toronto Stock Exchange from 2000 to 2010, when it merged with Quadra Mining to form Quadra FNX Mining. In 2012, Quadra FNX was sold to KGHM, a Polish copper mining giant, for $3.5 billion.
MacGibbon used the same strategy to acquire projects for Torex, TMAC and INV: the Morelos gold project in Mexico from Teck Resources; the Hope Bay gold project in Nunavut from Newmont Mining; and the Loma Larga gold property in Ecuador from Iamgold. These projects all faced challenges, such as escalating costs, lack of community support, and political and taxation issues. MacGibbon applied his “three Ps of success” — perseverance, patience and passion — and built teams of like-minded professionals to help overcome these challenges.
Torex Gold grew to become a midsize gold producer at Morelos, with estimated gold production of 345,000 oz. for 2017. TMAC achieved commercial production at Hope Bay in May 2017, with a market value of over $1.5 billion, while INV has advanced Loma Larga to the development stage and expects to produce in 2020.
MacGibbon’s strategic approach to project acquisition, disciplined capital spending and integrity helped him raise billions of dollars of capital, often in difficult market conditions. He assembled strong management and operating teams, notable for their high percentage of women. MacGibbon is also a role model for corporate social responsibility. His ability to build respectful relationships with stakeholders has generated employment and economic benefits for local, regional and national economies. For these and other accomplishments, MacGibbon received the 2004 Viola R. MacMillan Developer of the Year Award from PDAC and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2005.
Edward G. Thompson
For more than half a century, Edward Thompson has contributed to the progress and prestige of the Canadian mining industry as an explorer, mine developer, company builder, and dedicated supporter of industry causes and associations. He contributed to the growth of Teck Resources and Lacana Mining (since absorbed by Barrick Gold) and served on the boards of 50 junior companies. In recent years he helped develop an iron ore mine in Quebec, and championed discoveries in Ontario’s “Ring of Fire.” He also played a leadership role in the expansion of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) into a globally respected institution and was a founding member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.
Thompson was born in Utterson, Ont., and graduated from the University of Toronto with an Engineering Geology degree in 1959 and a Master’s degree in Economic Geology in 1960. He then joined the Keevil Mining Group, where he was involved in the early use of geophysical and geochemical surveys and of computers to evaluate mining projects. He spent 10 fruitful years exploring and acquiring projects that later became part of Teck, such as Highmont in B.C.’s Highland Valley, the Tribag copper mine in Ontario and the Niobec mine in Quebec.
Thompson’s years with Lacana were no less fruitful, with a dozen mines placed in production, including six mines in Mexico, and the Pinson, Dee, Preble, Marigold, Relief Canyon and Santa Fe mines in Nevada. He was part of the team that implemented heap leaching, an innovation that made it possible to mine previously uneconomic, low-grade gold deposits. Lacana was acquired by Corona, which became part of Barrick through subsequent mergers. In 1986 Thompson was selected by then-premier David Peterson to chair a committee on the state of the mineral industry in Ontario and to make recommendations for its improvement.
Thompson was an advisor to First Exploration Funds, a flow-through share fund that raised more than $100 million for Canadian exploration in the 1980s. He was a valued board member for dozens of juniors, including Granduc Mines, which participated in high-grade gold discoveries at Brucejack Lake in B.C. during the mid-1980s. The project was recently placed into production by Pretium Resources. Thompson joined the board of Freewest Resources in 1981, and later helped it develop the Harker-Holloway gold mine in Ontario. In 2009, Freewest made a chromite discovery in the Ring of Fire region of northern Ontario, and soon became a takeover target. After a six-month takeover battle skillfully managed by Thompson, Cliff Natural Resources beat out rival Noront Resources and acquired Freewest’s discovery for $239 million in 2010.
Thompson also managed and kept Consolidated Thompson Lundmark Gold Mines alive for 15 years while it financed and developed an iron ore mine in Quebec. The Bloom Lake mine began production in 2009 and was acquired by Cliffs Canada for $4.9 billion in 2011.
As a board member and former president, Thompson has contributed to the success of PDAC, its convention and awards programs, and the PDAC Mining Matters youth education initiative. He also has supported many charities, notably the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Canadian Red Cross.