By Jack Caldwell - Mining Engineer - Robertson GeoConsultants

With everything related to mining and the economy in general seemingly falling - except the price of gold - let us delay a little and bask in the heady news of what Canadian major mining company executives take home - and presumably spend to keep the economy buoyant. These following numbers are from the CostMine 2011 Survey Results of Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.

Here is a list of Total 2010 Executive Compensation for ten major mining companies as available in the companies’ annual proxy statements. The first number is the maximum, and the second number is the average. All numbers in millions of dollars in 2010 rounded to the nearest million.

  • CEO = 39/10
  • President = 9/8
  • Vice-President = 10/3
  • CFO = 10/3
  • COO = 6/3

It pays to be a CEO of a Canadian mining company. Although I could deal with the problems of getting a mere three million dollars in total compensation in one year.

Keep in mind total compensationis made up of many bits of earnings. Here is how the maximum-paid CFO got his $10 million last year –given in dollars rounded to the nearest thousand:

  • Salary = 806,000
  • Share-based award =2,505,000
  • Options-Based Awards =4,626,000
  • Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation = 2,600,00
  • All Other Compensation = 149,000

Just in case you get the impression that Canadians are paying their mining executives too much, let me give the mining salary in dollars per year for those poor fellows who work at less than booming mining companies.

  • CEO = 220,000
  • President = 220,000
  • Vice-President = 213,600
  • CFO = 250,000
  • COO = 354,400

Now that feels better. Maybe I should go and buyshares in those companies where they pay realistic salaries. Although, on reflection, maybe a company that pays the CEO $2 million in salary is likely to perform better than a company that pays the CEO a mere $0.2 million. I have no data to related CEO salary to company performance–although surely it must be a relevant factor to consider in investing. If you are interested, you could easily enough get those proxy statements or whatever.

Of course in Canada, these people probably pay a reasonable tax on what they earn. Is the same true in the USA?Probably not, for there it seems that the more you earn, the less you pay in taxes and the more you spend on tea parties.