Ronald K. Netolitzky, Ian Telfer and Peter M.D. Bradshaw were the recent inductees for the 2015 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. Many renowned mining executives with stellar achievments have been honored with this prestigious recognition. Well known mining executives that have received this recognition include: Peter Brown, George Carmack, Robert and Hunter Dickinson, Charles E. Fipke, Graham Farquharson, Ned Goodman, Pierre Lassonde, Mike Muzylowski, Peter Munk, Roman Shklanka and D. Grenville Thomas to name a few.
Ronald Netolitzky is an accomplished Canadian geologist who has always remained an independent-minded prospector at heart. He recognized and helped realize the potential of the Snip and Eskay Creek properties in northwest British Columbia, which became two of Canada’s most successful, high-grade precious metal mines. He also contributed to the growth of many
junior companies and, at last count, was involved in 12 significant merger-and-acquisition events.
Netolitzky graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in geology in 1964 and a M.Sc. from University of Calgary in 1967. He joined the Saskatchewan uranium rush as a consultant before venturing into junior mining. By 1985, Netolitzky was president of Delaware Resources and seeking a project of merit. The Snip property optioned from Cominco fit the bill and the first drill program led to a gold discovery. But the 1987 market crash hindered financing and Delaware was ￼ultimately taken over by Murray Pezim and re-named Prime Resources. Undaunted, Netolitzky turned his attention to a nearby prospect with a fruitless exploration history dating back to the 1930s.
After investing in Consolidated Stikine Resources, which held rights to Eskay Creek, Netolitzky teamed up with Calpine Resources to drill-test the prospect. Calpine a shell company was used to fund an initial $900,000 program with financing from Prime and Pezim. Results were spectacular, but interest was muted by the unusual nature of the deposit and weak capital markets. Pezim gained control of Calpine and half the deposit, but Stikine held out until Eskay Creek rivals Placer Dome and International Corona launched takeovers for Stikine. Shareholders then accepted Corona’s $67-per-share bid. Netolitzky was Stikine’s technical person and one of five controlling ￼shareholders.
Next, as president of Loki Gold, Netolitzky transformed the Brewery Creek project into an open-pit heap-leach operation. This was no small feat, as the Yukon project is located above the Arctic Circle. Brewery Creek poured its first gold in 1996. By this point, Netolitzky had merged Loki with Baja Mining and Viceroy Gold to create an entity with annual production of 200,000 ounces of gold. Viceroy went on to acquire the Gualcamayo gold project in Argentina, later sold to Yamana Gold.
Netolitzky received the Bill Dennis Prospector of the Year Award in 1990, and the E.A. Scholz Award in 1996, for his discovery and development achievements. He continued to find opportunities for junior companies. At Spectrum Gold, he obtained rights to the Galore Creek copper-gold-silver project in B.C. and later merged the company with NovaGold Resources. He was the chairman of Brett Resources, which acquired the Hammond Reef gold project in Ontario, later sold to Osisko Mining. He was also involved in many international projects. At Oliver Gold, he helped acquire the Segala gold deposit in Mali, now held by Endeavour Mining. Oliver morphed into Canico Resources, which developed the Onca-Puma nickel deposit in Brazil.
Netolitzky remains active in gold and uranium exploration, notably in Saskatchewan, where he ￼began his career almost 50 years earlier. Ron’s latest venture is with Skeena Resources Limited for its flagship project the Spectrum high-grade gold project. Ron remarked that, “Spectrum is one of those very rare, high-grade gold occurrences that would attract any explorationist, even in a challenging, risk-adverse market. It is a well-known, advanced exploration project in an excellent geological setting and the historical work was completed by well-respected professionals who remain active in the industry.
Furthermore, access and the local infrastructure have dramatically improved over the past decade. The database includes in excess of 100 diamond drill holes (>12,000 metres), extensive prospecting, geologic mapping, geochemical and geophysical surveys, and an inferred resource for a shallow portion of the Central Zone.” Mr. Netolitzky further added, “Skeena has been aggressively pursuing this acquisition for several years and we are excited to have finally reached an agreement with Eilat for its 80% ownership in Spectrum.”