The folk in mining that I most admire are the people who run their own junior mining company. To start, persevere, and succeed as a Junior Mining Company executive or employee takes a ruggedness and individuality which few of us possess. You need nerves of steel to weather the ups and downs of the market, of skittish investors, and the vagaries of drilling to confirm an ore body.
If you seek a career of excitement, independence, and the gamble of a fortune lost or gained, establish a Junior Mining Company—-or go work for one. The best example I have encountered is the young Canadian Frenchman who found the Eleonore deposit, now in the Goldcorp stable. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He burst with pride as he told me how he found the deposit.
“It was spring. I was walking along the bedrock just besides the water. The snow was melting and there were patches of clean, hard rock just emerging from winter. The sun was shining. I looked at an outcrop. There was gold in it. It looked just like the conglomerate you find in South Africa. I stopped, taken aback. This was the right geology, but this was the first time I saw the classic type. I broke off a piece and hastened back to Quebec City. Then we drilled and drilled. We proved sufficient resources. And now the property is up for auction. If we get a good price, I will buy me a BMW.”
Goldcorp bid a good price and I am sure he bought a BMW.
Which leaves us asking, what do executives of junior mining companies earn? Here are some figures from the CostMine 2011Survey Results of Canadian Mining Salaries, Wages and Benefits. The first number is the maximum, the second the minimum, and the third the average—all in $1,000 per year.
- CEO = 14,100/120/3,010
- VP = 3,075/132/764
- COO = 3,075/278/1,531.
You are reading this correctly: some junior mining company CEO earned only $120,000 last year; one VP earned only $132,000; and the least paid COO got $278,000. Conversely one CEO got $14 million. The range is large.
I am not sure this is truly correct. I know guys in a junior mining company, who since the 2008 crash have paid themselves no more than $60,000 per year, and they have worked hard. But they do not bother with titles. They concentrate of finding properties, raising cash, and drilling. This summer they slogged it out themselves in the Yukon logging their own core.
I have no salaries for geologists or engineers employed by Juniors. I suspect their salaries are not much less than industry averages.
So as you consider a career in mining or mining finance, consider establishing your own Junior. You may get rich. Or you may just scrape along. Either way it will be a challenge, fun, and will involve travel.