Thompson Creek CEO says goodbye, leaves behind diversified miner

Kevin Loughrey

Kevin Loughrey, outgoing CEO of Thompson Creek Metals

After nearly a decade at the helm, the CEO of Canada's Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE:TC) is about to step into retirement.

When Loughrey took over in 2006, the company was a molybdenum-only producer. Now, he leaves behind a copper, gold and molybdenum miner.

In 2008, the company moved into gold and copper projects – part of a strategy that Loughrey believes is essential to surviving the cyclical nature of the industry.

With no control over prices and very little control over costs, the CEO says diversification helped cushion the fall when molybdenum prices went from over $40 per pound in the mid-2000s to under $10 today.

The company is currently ramping up production at its Mt. Milligan copper and gold project in British Columbia, with full commercial production expected in 2014.

The site has the second largest gold reserves in Canada – 6 million ounces – and 2.1 billion pounds of copper. It's expected to produce an annual average of 81 million pounds of copper and 194,500 ounces of gold over 22 years.

Historical molybdenum prices | InfoMine

Loughrey also emphasized the importance of long term views, pointing out that gold and copper prices are still high by historic standards.

Acknowledging that copper is set to go into oversupply over the next couple of years, Loughrey maintains that "it's important not to overreact to shorter term variations of the price."

Over the long term, finding new projects is only going to get harder, said Loughrey.

"Things that are easiest to find have been found."

Other factors will also limit supplies, the CEO believes. Resource nationalism and environmental movements are making the permitting process longer and more difficult.

Loughrey will leave his post next week. Under his leadership the company not only entered the gold and copper business but also listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2007 and hit revenues of $1 billion.

Jacques Perron will step in as the new CEO.

Loughrey also spoke with Kitco News about progress at Mt. Milligan. See the interview here.