Robert (Rob) McEwen is one of Canada’s most innovative, original and dynamic mining entrepreneurs. He is best known for transforming Goldcorp Inc. from a holding company into a global gold-mining powerhouse and revitalizing Ontario’s Red Lake gold mine through the discovery of new high-grade resources at depth. His famous “Goldcorp Challenge” in 2000, which provided open access to 50 years of proprietary geological data from Red Lake and offered prizes to anyone who could find the next six million ounces of gold, created an estimated $6 billion of value from subsequent discoveries. McEwen is also an astute investor and corporate strategist, as demonstrated by Goldcorp’s friendly merger with Wheaton River Minerals in 2005. Goldcorp shares tripled in the next 14 months as it grew through a series of mergers into one of the world’s largest gold producers. He went on to build a new flagship, McEwen Mining, while supporting many worthy causes through donations totalling more than $50 million to date.
Born and raised in Toronto, McEwen worked at his father’s investment firm after earning a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1973, followed by an MBA from York University in 1978. In the 1980s, he took the reins of Goldcorp, then a gold fund, and managed its investment portfolio. In 1989, he led Goldcorp’s acquisition of Dickinson Mines and its aging and capital-starved gold mine in the famous Red Lake camp, and began building an operating company.
His faith in the mine’s untapped potential was rewarded after a $10-million exploration led to a high-grade discovery in the mid-1990s. In a brilliant move, he created the “Goldcorp Challenge” and placed the mine’s geological data since 1948 on the internet and offered $575,000 in prizes for the best exploration concepts. More than 1,000 participants from 80 countries took part, resulting in more than 50 new targets, 80% of which yielded total gold resources valued at $6 billion. The Red Lake mine was transformed from a 50,000-ounce producer in 1997 to a 500,000-ounce producer in 2001, while cash costs fell from $360 per ounce to $60 per ounce over this period.
Goldcorp went on to become a star performer, with its share price appreciating at a compound annual rate of 31% between 1993 and 2004. McEwen stepped down from Goldcorp after its high-profile $2.4-billion merger with Wheaton River to focus on junior mining. After acquiring U.S. Gold and expanding its assets, he merged the junior with Minera Andes to create McEwen Mining, a gold, silver and copper producer with projects in Nevada, Mexico and Argentina.
As a philanthropist, McEwen has donated more than $50 million to encourage excellence, innovation and leadership in healthcare and education. He also contributed to the Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Memorial Hospital, the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre, St. Andrews College Leadership Program, Rumie Initiative and most recently the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University. In addition to an honorary degree from York University, McEwen has received many accolades for his achievements, including Developer of the Year for 2001, Mining Man of the Year for 2002, Most Innovative CEO in 2006, and the Order of Canada in 2007.