Legends of Mining Part 2: Where are Australia’s greatest mine finders now?
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Successful explorers typically have quality leadership teams.
These proven mine finders and builders – the kind that make shareholders a lot of money – are hard to come by.
Following on from part 1, here are four more mining legends who moved on from prior successes and are out to hit another company-making home run.
Veteran company director Neil Biddle, alongside fellow geologist John Young and accountant Tony Leibowitz, took Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) from sub-$10m shell to +$1bn lithium miner in under five years.
Acquiring the company-making Pilgangoora project in 2014, Biddle stepped down three years later with project funding in place and construction well underway.
“Together with John Young, Neil identified the opportunity in lithium well before the onset of the so-called lithium boom,” Pilbara chairman Tony Kiernan said at the time.
“He secured a world-class asset at Pilgangoora and had the courage of his convictions to raise capital and explore it aggressively during a difficult time in the junior resource market.
“As a result of his vision and belief, Pilbara has since been able to prove up the world’s second biggest hard rock lithium deposit, complete development studies and raise more than $350 million from both retail investors and Australian and international institutions, to underpin the project’s development.”
In 2017, Biddle, Leibowitz and Young joined the board of ~$25m market cap Spitfire Materials – soon to be renamed Bardoc Gold.
Now with a $140m market cap, Bardoc (ASX:BDC) is currently advancing a +3moz, 135,000oz per annum gold project in WA towards development.
In August 2020 Biddle became executive director of small cap IOCG hunter Greenvale Mining (ASX:GRV), and Leibowitz its chairman.
Around the same time Young became executive director of WA-focussed copper-gold explorer Trek Metals (ASX:TKM), where Biddle and Leibowitz are already on the board.
Harmanis was the founder and executive director of Jubilee Mines, a small cap company he helped build into a successful nickel producer.
Jubilee Mines, worth about $20m when it discovered the Cosmos nickel deposit in WA, was sold to Swiss mining heavyweight Xstrata for $3bn in 2007.
That sale netted him and fellow mining stalwart Terry Streeter (amongst others) a hefty payday.
Harmanis is now invested in a new crop of juniors.
In May, he snapped up a 5 per cent stake in surging nickel explorer Centaurus Metals (ASX:CTM) which had just completed the acquisition of the advanced, high-grade Jaguar nickel sulphide project from global mining giant Vale.
Gateway managing director Peter Langworthy was also at Jubilee, where he played a pivotal role in delineating the company-making Cosmos resource.