Canadian goldbug stakes his name on McEwen Mining

Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:53pm EST
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By Pav Jordan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Rob McEwen, the Canadian investor who founded the world's second-largest gold producer, is putting his name on the line with his latest precious-metal venture, aiming to build his McEwen Mining into an S&P 500 company within a few years.

McEwen's new investment vehicle is a midtier gold and silver miner formed through the combination of two other companies he leads, U.S. Gold Corp UXG.TO and Minera Andes MAI.TO.

U.S. Gold acquired Minera Andes in an all-stock deal announced in June. The enlarged company, now called McEwen Mining, is due to list in Toronto and New York on Friday with a market capitalization of some $1.3 billion.

McEwen, who helped turn Goldcorp into an industry powerhouse in the 1990s before cutting ties, has set a goal of nearly quadrupling the value of his new company to $5 billion by 2015.

"Going out with this (company) is to see if lightning can strike twice, and I guess I've upped the ante because I do have a large personal stake in the company, and, my name is on it," the Toronto-based investor said in a interview. "So I can't just go to sleep and forget about it."

In an industry where swagger and substance come in equal portions, such lofty ambitions might not carry as much weight coming from someone with a lesser reputation than McEwen's.

McEwen, a 62-year-old Canadian who came to mining from the investment industry, has a knack for making maverick bets pay off.

In 2002, when he was running GoldCorp, instead of selling all of the company's gold into the market at prices near 20-year lows, he decided to hold on to a portion.   Continued...

<p>Rob McEwen, CEO of McEwen Mining, poses after an interview in Toronto, January 23, 2012. REUTERS/Peter Jones</p>