In this feature interview, Matt Manson, president and CEO of Stornoway Diamond (TSX-SWY), reflects on his decade-long journey leading the company that transformed Renard from a grassroots exploration project in remote Quebec into the province’s first diamond mine — a feat that earned him our “Mining Person of the Year” award for 2016. (T.N.M., March 6-19/17)
The Northern Miner: Going back to the beginning, when you worked for Aber Diamond, how much of an influence was it on what you did later with Stornoway?
Matt Manson: I was working with Aber from 1997 as a consultant and then from 1999 as an employee, through into late 2004. I went through the process of doing the project financing for our share of Diavik. I was the Aber representative on the Diavik construction committee with Rio Tinto, and went through the set-up of all the operations.
We had a very specific business growth perspective back then, around 2002-03. It was very much Bob Gannicott’s vision: we were not going to operate Diavik. We were minority partners and we would only operate the sale of the diamonds.
We would become really good at that, and we became very invested in the downstream part of the business. We came to understand it, and I was in Antwerp for months on end.
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