This award, named in honour of PDAC’s longest serving president, is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.
John McConnell and the Victoria Gold Team
For innovative financing of the Eagle Gold Mine development and production in Yukon.
John McConnell and the Victoria Gold Team surmounted substantial hurdles to fund the Eagle Gold Mine. Despite the challenges of a global downturn in precious metals equities in 2018 and the severe repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, they secured the necessary financing.
Despite facing skepticism from some shareholders about the project's feasibility and the team's capabilities, McConnell and Victoria Gold Corp. managed to secure over $500 million for its construction and development. They achieved this by creating royalties, collaborating with private equity firms, and accessing the equity markets, attracting investors who were aware of the project's critics.
Upon the mine's completion, the team adeptly lowered their capital costs. They transitioned from high-cost private loans to conventional bank financing, shifted from private equity to a broader shareholder base, and adeptly managed a strategic investor who initially supported but later departed from the company. Through all the challenges, McConnell and his team stayed resolutely committed to establishing a prosperous and safe mine, benefiting all stakeholders in the Yukon and beyond.