Kelly Earle and Vincent Metcalfe named Young Mining Professionals of the Year

Kelly Earle and Vincent Metcalfe.

The winners of the Young Mining Professionals’ (YMP) Eira Thomas and Peter Munk Awards for 2023 are Kelly Earle of Vancouver and Vincent Metcalfe of Montreal.

The YMP awards recognize two mining professionals under the age of 40, who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and innovative thinking for their companies and shareholders.

The awards will be presented to Kelly and Vincent at the YMP Awards Cocktail Reception on Saturday, March 4, 5 pm, at the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto as the kick-off event for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s 2023 Mineral Exploration and Mining Convention, which takes place from March 5 to 8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Tickets for the awards ceremony and reception are available here.

Nominees from a public submissions process were judged by a panel of representatives from YMP chapters in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Sudbury, London (U.K.), Perth, Brisbane, Arizona, Switzerland and by The Northern Miner.

Sponsoring the awards this year are Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD), Cassels, Rio Tinto (ASX, LSE: RIO), KPMG and The Northern Miner.

Kelly Earle

Kelly Earle, the 2023 Eira Thomas Award winner, is an investor relations and corporate development professional with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of British Columbia. Originally from Waterloo, Ont., Kelly operates her own company in Vancouver, K. Earle Consulting, providing a wide range of services to junior mining companies. She also spent seven years working for Skeena Resources (TSX: SKE; NYSE: SKE) as senior vice-president of corporate development and played a key role in advancing the company’s revival of the Eskay Creek gold and silver mine in B.C.’s Golden Triangle.

Kelly always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the sciences but began her university studies in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

“I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a lab, so I took a year off and moved to Banff, and that’s where I discovered my love for rocks and the outdoors,” she recalled.

While at UBC, Kelly spent the summer of 2008 doing field work for Northern Freegold Resourcesin the Yukon and the summer of 2010 working for Hunter Dickenson on the Hammond Reef project in Northern Ontario, but investor relations and corporate development beckoned as a more attractive career option.

“Investor relations appealed to me because I could be based in Vancouver while also having the opportunity to travel all over the world to check out projects and meet with investors. Plus, it’s very beneficial having a technical background in investor relations, so I jumped at the opportunity,” she said.

The idea to start her own business gelled during a downturn in the mining industry in 2012 when she found that junior mining companies weren’t always in a position to hire investor relations people full-time. As principal of K. Earle Consulting she provided investor relations and related services to a number of companies, including Alta Nevada Minerals, Altan Rio Minerals (TSXV: AMO), Aegean Metals, Pacific Empire Minerals (TSX-V: PEMC), Nuxalk Development, New Energy Metals (TSXV: ENRG; US-OTC: NEMCF) and Questex Gold and Copper.

She also made time to qualify as a certified investor relations professional through Western University’s Ivey Business School.

“As an investor relations and corporate development professional, I get to meet with investors all over the world. I raise money, arrange private placements, keep shareholders up to date with press releases and look after marketing, but the part of the job I enjoy most is raising money, working on mergers and acquisitions and finding new projects,” Kelly said.

In 2016, she landed a full-time gig with Skeena Resources, first as vice-president of communications and, in April of last year, as senior vice-president of corporate development.

During the six and a half years she spent at Skeena, she helped to grow the company’s market capitalization from $25 million to more than $550 million and played a major role in helping to revive the Eskay Creek Mine, the former Barrick Gold property reputed to have been the highest-grade gold mine in the world.

Barrick operated Eskay Creek, located almost 1,500 km north of Vancouver, from 1994 to 2008 and produced 3.3 million oz. of gold and 160 million oz. of silver at grades of 45 grams gold per tonne and 2,224 grams silver.

While Kelly is no longer with Skeena, the company has committed to putting the mine back in production at a rate of 352,000 oz. of gold equivalent annually for a nine-year mine life.

Among her accomplishments she is most proud of was her involvement as a founding member of the British Columbia Regional Mining Alliance, a collaboration between industry, Indigenous partners and the B.C. government to promote the province as an attractive mining jurisdiction.

“When I started with Skeena, there was a lot of negative sentiment about B.C. not being a good place to invest and we wanted to change that narrative,” Kelly said. “This was before majors like Newmont (TSX: NGT; NYSE: NEM) and Newcrest Mining (TSX: NCM; ASX: NCM)were interested in the Golden Triangle, so the alliance really helped to brand B.C. and helped Skeena stand out as both a first mover in the area and as a company committed to strong relations with the Tahltan First Nation.”

Kelly also served as founding industry advisory board chair with the Center for Advanced Subsurface Earth Resource Models (CASERM), a collaboration between the Colorado School of Mines and Virginia Tech that’s focused on using computer science to help mining companies interpret their data.

“The mining industry can be a bit old school about how we use our data, so the idea was to take the technical, geological and engineering expertise from the Colorado School of Mines and pair it with the mathematical, artificial intelligence and computer science skills at Virginia Tech,” she explained. “The collaboration exposes computer scientists to mining datasets that they normally wouldn’t have access to and gives us in the mining industry an opportunity to do more with big data.”

Vincent Metcalfe

Vincent Metcalfe, the YMP’s 2023 Peter Munk Award winner, found his way into the mining industry by chance. While completing an undergraduate degree in Finance from Montreal’s Haute Étude Commerciale (HEC) and also after graduating in 2006, Vincent worked as an analyst for BMO Nesbitt Burns.

“I was supposed to start in the income trust section for power and utilities, but the government changed all the rules relating to income trusts, so that market totally collapsed in 2005,” he recalled. “The income trust group was right next to the mining group, so they asked me to join them. That’s how I was introduced to the mining industry.

“BMO was a great place to start my career because it was one of the leading investment banks serving the mining industry, so I gained a lot of experience there and the people I worked with are now all in lead roles around the world.”

After three and a half years of working 90 to 100 hours a week, he left BMO for a well-deserved six month break to travel the world. On his return to Montreal in 2009, he was recruited by Desjardins Securities and given the task of starting a mining practice for them.

After five years in that role, he made the switch to the corporate side by joining Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR; NYSE: OR) as director of evaluations and vice-president of investor relations. During his three years at Osisko, he also served as president and CEO of sister company Falco Resources (TSXV: FPC; US-OTC: FPRGF), where he oversaw the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for the Horne Mine in Rouyn-Noranda.

“Then, at the end of 2018, I decided to take a leap of faith and really go out on my own, so I left Osisko, got control of a shell company and founded Nomad Royalty. We started off with five assets from Orion Mine Finance and three from Yamana Gold (TSX: YRE; NYSE: AUY; LSE: AUY), but by the time we got going it was February 2020, exactly one and a half weeks before the global pandemic when the world shut down,” Vincent said.

He nevertheless persevered, inspired by his father who always told him that “if you work harder than anyone else, you’ll achieve the goals you want.” Shortly after completing two major project financings in 2022 for Equinox Gold’s  (TSX: EQX) Greenstone operation in Northern Ontario and Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) Platreef project, Nomad accepted Sandstorm Gold Royalties’ (TSX: SSL; NYSE: SAND) offer to buy the company for $740 million. By that time, Nomad had 23 assets, 10 of which were in production and generating revenue.

“Starting Nomad during a pandemic was challenging, but we found ways to get the job done, sold it at the end of the pandemic and did well for what was a difficult period for everyone,” he said.

Vincent is now preparing for the next chapter of his career, starting yet another business – this time with a focus on acquiring a promising asset – either a gold or base metal property – that could use the project financing expertise that he and his team can bring to the table.

“The idea is to get our skin in the game, project finance it, build it and start producing,” he said. Vincent credits hard work, honesty and believing in himself as the qualities that are responsible for the success he has achieved.


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