He became a giant of the industry growing Goldcorp as CEO through acquisition in the 2000s. Ian Telfer also founded Silver Wheaton (now Wheaton Precious) as a spin out of Goldcorp and is a major Canadian philanthropist.
In a surprising new interview with Daniela Cambone, Telfer candidly describes why mining is so hard and why crypto may be better.
“With the competition they’ve got from other asset classes I can’t see [gold] going to $5000. I just can’t see it. Sorry… I’ve been listening to the same people say $5000 for thirty years and it hasn’t worked out that way.”
“A combination of the disappointments in the longer term performance of the gold shares and crypto are a barbell going the wrong way.”
“With bitcoin there will be a finite number of bitcoins… Any time there’s a new [gold] discovery it slightly devalues the amount of gold that’s available to investors.”
“The gold companies keep issuing shares as they go on and I think this turns investors off.”
“They went overboard on acquisitions 10-12 years ago and now I think they’re going overboard on paying dividends.”
“I’ve spent 35 years looking at all these developments and there’s almost no progress.”
“The rock that contains the gold looks exactly the same as the rock that doesn’t contain the gold. We haven’t found a way to explore without drilling holes and taking samples and I don’t think that will ever change”
“My first 10 years in mining was spent exploring with ZERO success. Then my next 20 years was spent acquiring deposits with a lot of success.”
While he isn’t a gold bull like some are he still encouraged mining CEOs to be optimistic about its price.
“If you are trying to grow a gold mining company the best risk to take is price risk… If you use the consensus gold price you will never buy anything ever ever ever because it’s baked into the asset’s price… Take price risk, not technical risk, and be very careful about exploration risk.”
For more Ian Telfer, check out my 2017 story: The view from the Goldcorp chairman’s office https://ceo.ca/@tommy/goldcorp-chairman-ian-telfer-interview