Behind the glow of satisfaction with the successful launch of Gahcho Kue, the CEO and president of Mountain Province Diamonds reflects somewhat ruefully on the two decades of hard slogging it took to get there.
Soft spoken and cool headed, Patrick Evans started out as a career diplomat (South Africa’s consul general to Canada in the late 1990s) before jumping into the mining game with junior diamond hunter SouthernEra in 1999. He has since held executive positions and directorships with a number of companies. He joined Mountain Province in 2005.
He’s rather an anomaly in Canadian mining circles, for the sole reason that he was able to raise more than a half-billion in cash in a skittish market that shunned resources. How did he do it?
“It’s a combination of a few things,” he says. “The quality of the project, the quality of our operating partner [De Beers], and the market’s familiarity with the management of Mountain Province.” In other words, his backers know and trust him.
Evans funded his 49% share in part through equity, much it sourced out of the United Kingdom, then from April of 2015 through a US$370 million debt plan, backed almost entirely by French, South African and Canada’s Scotia Bank. Scotia is the exception in Canada, he says, expressing disappointment with other banks when it comes to resource investment.
“Ironically, even though Canada has one of the world leading mining industries, most chartered banks do not provide debt for Canadian mine development. It’s actually quit surprising, if not shocking … there’s a disconnect there.”
Patrick Evans was interviewed in November 2016 for CMJ.