The career accomplishments of Douglas Silver reflect the close ties between the Canadian and American mining communities and the mutual benefits of enhanced exposure to new concepts and wealth-generating opportunities. Silver rose to prominence in the early 1990s as president and owner of Balfour Holdings, which became a leading mineral economics and management consulting firm. His training in economic geology (including being involved in a major molybdenum discovery) and rare expertise in mining valuation made him a sought-after consultant and speaker at mining and investment conferences on both sides of the border. Silver also launched the Denver Gold Group (DGG), one of the world’s leading investment forums for gold producers that features a dominant contingent of Canadian-listed companies. He has made many other contributions to Canada’s mining industry, notably in the mineral royalty and streaming sector. In 2005, he launched International Royalty Corporation (IRC) and grew revenues from US$400,000 to US$50 million by 2007 and sold the company for $749 million in 2010. Silver next joined private-equity firm, Orion Resource Partners., and built another large royalty portfolio that ultimately sold for $1.1 billion to Canadian company, Osisko Gold Royalties, and participated in hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian mining investments.
Silver was raised in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Masters degree in Economic Geology. He launched Colorado-based Balfour Holdings in 1987, and soon constructed multiple comprehensive databases on mining issues. He developed new valuation techniques for a broad range of mines, mineral deposits and exploration projects. His pioneering expertise in valuations improved the due diligence process, set market values, and ultimately contributed to the drafting of industry valuation standards, such as the CIMVAL Code.
Silver is a prolific writer and speaker, having given more than 130 presentations, including dozens of keynote addresses at industry events such as PDAC and CIM conferences. He also supported Canadian mining through the DGG, which he conceptualized and founded to introduce gold companies to gold institutional investors. The DGG has long been dominated by Canadian-listed companies, and its annual conference continues today as one of the world’s principal forums for gold investment discussion.
Early in his career Silver recognized the downstream value of royalty investments, and chose Canada as the place to fulfill his dream of creating not one, but two outstanding royalty portfolios. He co-founded IRC as a private entity in 2003, with only a small royalty from the Hemlo gold project, and then raised $190 million to expand the portfolio. IRC was the largest mining-related initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2005. Silver and his team turned IRC into a $749-million company within seven years by acquiring 86 royalties, with a net smelter royalty on Labrador’s giant Voisey’s Bay nickel project being IRC’s flagship asset.
After selling IRC to Royal Gold for a 60% premium in 2010, Silver joined privately-held Orion Resource Partners and focused on building his second royalty portfolio. The portfolio included a diamond stream from Stornoway Diamonds—a Canadian first—and more than a dozen royalties from projects in five Canadian provinces. The portfolio was ultimately sold in 2017 to Osisko Gold Royalties for $1.1 billion, which made Osisko the third largest Canadian royalty company.
Silver has received numerous awards for his many achievements, notably from the Society of Mining Engineering, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), and also was a 2018 inductee into the U.S. National Mining Hall of Fame.