Archive for the ‘Money & Mining’ Category


In past postings I have provided Canadian mining wages and salaries from the CostMine 2014 Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages, and Benefits Report.  As noted on the CostMine website, this report provides the following:

  • Hourly wage scales listed by job title for workers at 66 metal, diamond, industrial mineral and fossil fuel mines in 9 provinces and territories, including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
  • Salary summaries for managerial, technical and administrative personnel at 46 mines.
  • Benefit plan profiles for each mine.
  • Incentive bonus plan descriptions for many new and innovative plans reported by the mines.
  • Statistical tables for comparing salaries and benchmark wages at surface and underground mines.
  • Executive Compensation for 38 Canadian and American major, mid-tier and junior mining companies.
  • Workers compensation tax rate summaries for mining in all provinces and territories.

Now let us examine a few facts about mining executive compensation.   Here are some average compensation (in $1,000) for Junior mining companies:

  • CEO = 533
  • President = 858
  • Vice President = 706
  • CFO = 245
  • COO = 245

Now let us look at the same folk working for Major mining companies:

  • CEO = 5,759
  • President = 4,276
  • Vice President = 2,399
  • CFO = 2,495
  • COO = 2,360

In very round numbers, the executive in a Major make about ten times as much as in a Junior.  Talk of a wide income distribution.  And these are averages.  Here are some maxima, first for the Major, then the Midtier, then the Junior:

  • CEO = 9,898/3,854/3,924
  • President = 9,898/3,854/3,924
  • Vice President = 6,246/2,728/2,153
  • CFO = 6,246/2,728/1,615
  • COO = 5,334/1,402/340

Some top guys in the Juniors are doing well, although but a third of their Major counterparts.

Keep in mind that the above are not salaries.  The numbers include

  • Salary
  • Share-Based Awards
  • Options-Based Awards
  • Non-equity income
  • All Other (presumable cars, planes, and clubs)

Still I suppose these guys work for it, considering the turn-over and tribulations they face when things go wrong.


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The numbers just do not add up. As I read the many sites on the web, I learn that British Columbia has about thirty operating mines. The BC government has about $172 million in closure bonds. Say about five or six million a mine. That seems grossly inadequate to me. I have just finished estimating closure of one mine and it came to nearly $60 million. Does this mean BC should have $1.7 billion in closure bonds? Here are some observations from various websites that may help you ponder this issue. (more…)

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The five pictures in this posting, were taken (by me) at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.  This place is surely a testament to genius and attention to detail.

Yesterday I was asked if Canadian guidelines are adequate to deal with the Mt Polley situation. More specifically, the questions continued: if the current Canadian guidelines regarding tailings dam safety had been implemented, would the failure have been avoided. Before I answer these questions, let us first take a look at the guidelines that are out there. (more…)

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I have lost count of the number of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines that have contacted me asking for opinions on the Mt Polley tailings happenings.  Somehow the email from Adrian Lee of that most reputable of Canadian magazine, McLeans, had a air of intelligence the pulled me into replying.  (I confess to being a regular reader of McLeans.) (more…)

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Here are the stories of the seven dam failures that have occurred since the beginning of 2012. Six are failures of tailings facilities. The seventh is a rockfill dam. The following are extracts from technical papers that I wrote well before the Mt Polley failure. Details of the first three are available at this link. Details of the remaining four are in a paper that I will present at the Tailings and Mine Waste 2014 conference in Colorado in October of this year. (more…)

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So the legal trials and travails begin.  Here is the first announcement:

LONDON, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Siskinds LLP today announced the commencement of an investor class action against Imperial Metals Corporation (“Imperial”) (TSX:III) and certain of its directors, officers and related parties. The action relates to the circumstances surrounding the failure of the tailings facilities at Imperial’s Mount Polley gold and copper mine near Likely, British Columbia on August 4, 2014.  The action is brought to recover losses suffered by persons who acquired common shares or notes of Imperial between August 15, 2011 and August 4, 2014.


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In one of the many article I read on the Mt Polley tailings failure was an estimate of what it will cost to get the mine going again.   A figure of $50 million was quoted as the cost to pick up all the tailings and return them to the tailings facility.  I imagine that figure is based on five million cubic meters of tailings at about $10 a cubic meter to pick up.  Here is why I suspect the figure is grossly low. (more…)

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