“I cant believe how lucky you were to have picked up the Laiva Gold Mine in Finland.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard it, but this person surprised me by saying it. He was a 50 something, seasoned investor, talking with me at our PDAC booth.
What surprised me was that he believed out of pure luck, we stumbled on the opportunity and it somehow just fell in our laps; an instant overnight success!
This got me thinking; How did we manage to land this deal?
I am reminded of the saying; “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” There is no question luck had something to do with it but the opportunity was put in front of us as a result of more than 14 years of deal flow and investments.
The background to the acquisition was that I was on vacation in Panama but was on the phone trying to sell some iron ore properties in Northern Ontario to a European buyer. The potential buyer casually asked me what else we were involved with. I mentioned gold in Paraguay and Colombia, lithium in US, copper in BC etc. He thought for a moment and said he had a fully built, fully permitted gold mine in Finland that was on care and maintenance. Was I interested?
Of course I was, so I asked for details and they arrived within minutes. My business partner and I reviewed them and immediately decided to visit Finland on my return from vacation. We never did sell the iron ore properties, but a week later we were on our way to Finland.
We spent a few days at the mine in early March 2017. Our mining engineer came along and could see no fatal flaws. We returned home and immediately put in an offer.
After two MOUs, two trips to India, frequent trips to Sweden and Finland, we eventually closed the deal. It took nearly a year of some of the most challenging and frustrating negotiations I have ever been involved with. I will talk about some of the learning in future “Chats”.
Closing this deal was hard work and definitely the most challenging deal I have ever done. Luck was essential but as I have heard before; luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. You have to look at a lot of deals before you even know what is good and what is not and when you find a good deal you have to move quickly and aggressively. I did pretty much nothing else for 10 months.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be lucky than good, but you need a good team and a lot of work to get anything worthwhile done in this business.