Even I am guilty of painting a picture of the difficulties of opening and running a mine in Canada. It is simply too easy to write about intransigent First Nations, vacillating politicians, activist NGOs, and vociferous shareholders. Here are some numbers to prove that those who face and deal with such difficulties are well compensated. Here are some numbers on the salaries, bonuses, and other forms of compensation paid to executives of Canadian mining companies as of June 2009. These data are from the CostMine Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages & Benefits 2009 Survey Results.

The following numbers are from public disclosure information from ten major, nine mid-tier, and nine junior Canadian mining companies. Numbers are US dollars per year. Here are the averages for chairmen of major mining companies:

  • Salary = $1,303,662
  • Bonus = $850,000
  • Securities granted under option = $4,417,707
  • Share subject to resale restriction = $2,336,688
  • Other compensation = $876,018

If I add correctly, that means the average Canadian mining company chairman got nearly $10 million last year. The maximum was nearly $30 million. The minimum was a mere $2 million. For that even I would face down a barrage of angry tribal chiefs or go fly a plane to attack a man in a small boat on a cold lake.

CEOs and other underlings did not do quite as well. Here are the average salaries (first number) and bonuses (second number) of some—keep in mind they also got securities, shares, and other compensation:

  • CEO = $1,243,055 $1,025,026
  • President =$1,082,225 $856,250
  • Vice-President = $444,991 $414,532
  • CFO = $554,001 $1,009,739
  • COO = $676,250 $600,000

One almost begins to feel sorry for the “underpaid” VP and COO. Don’t they do all the work? Talking of which, let us look at the comparable numbers for the executives of the real working world, the folk who run the junior mining companies in Canada:

  • CEO = $400,000  $82,080
  • President =$269,243   $43,546
  • Vice-President = $185,752   $41,654
  • CFO = $384,900   $23,467
  • COO = $262,881   $27,500

They hardly top a total compensation of half a million dollars a year.That ishardly enough to get a regular table at an expensive restaurant in West Vancouver, pay for a parking spot in downtown Vancouver, or rent a small plane to fly over a lake.

As you would expect, compensation for the executives of Mid-Tier Canadian mining companies is somewhere in the middle. Enough to justify the distractions of PDAC and shareholders meetings.

I wonder if anybody has plotted the executive compensation versus share price or dividend or some other measure of the success of the company. I wonder if there is any correlation between executive compensation and the achievements of the individualmining company. I suppose that if you are interested, you could, like CostMine, get the reportsfrom the companies and do the plotting yourself. Another fact I have not seen is a comparison of the compensation of executive of Canadian mining companies versus the compensation of executives of other industry companies making the same amount of money or facingthe same level of harassment. Again you could do this yourself as all the data are publicly available. Let me know if you do.