Sometimes marketing is cheesy, sometimes it’s brilliant, sometimes annoying. But the best marketing campaigns can be all three at once. I like to think I achieved that…and to my credit, my husband who is a well-known mining executive, promoter, fund-raiser and company spokesperson, told me I outdid him that day in September.

My son, Jeff, and I at 3 Aces

So how does one outdo an expert?  Well first you have a lot of groundwork when you take over a broke company, riddled with debt and work for free for a few years. Then follow these easy steps…10 steps to prepare the product, 10 steps to market success!

First – Prepare the Product

  1. Give up on the junior exploration sector model, with lifestyle CEO jobs and never-ending explore forever projects that bleed shareholders
  2. Admit that if you get that gold sticking out of the ground old-school style up on the mountain at 3 Aces in SE Yukon….. why would anyone give you money…..
  3. Decide to bulk sample to generate some cash to save the company, then start a traditional work plan.
  4. Raise $300,000 dollars, convince Rob McEwen and Pat Dicapo that you are coming back with gold.
  5. Send a crew, including your son, his friends, your friends and your husband, who all work cheap, to the middle of nowhere at 40 below, cross a frozen river and go up, waaaay up, a steep mountain winter road to bulk sample (blast) some gold-laden rock.
  6. Blast rock…
  7. Video tape this, fire blast technician who overloaded the holes from site after the former Premier of the Yukon warns you he showed up and needs to go… explain to Workers Comp (unsuccessfully) you are not a bunch of cowboys.
  8. Bring rock down the very steep mountain, slowly…very slowly.
  9. Build a processing plant in rural Yukon with spare parts and junk on private land that is really just crushing rock that has gold. Operate by hand until you get enough money to replace the bucket brigade.
  10. Separate gold locally instead of sending to China, hire local. Show Pat and Rob the gold.

Okay so here is where the gold bulk sample program and the marketing piece combine… stay with me…

Me posing with the 40 kg brain blob

Second – Commence Marketing Stunt

  1. Start the Yukon Mining Alliance, leave in a snit over principles and ethics about the need to be honest to investors.
  2. Years later, get a call from the Yukon Mining Alliance, get invited to present in Toronto with the Alliance even as a non-member…. do a marketing brain storm…..
  3. Accept, anytime anyone wants you to talk, you talk to investors. Prepare to attend 200 financial market guest luncheon with the mining industry and Premier on the topic of Why Am I in the Yukon.
  4. Go to the plant; pour gold bars, combine gold bars into a $1mm doré gold bar.
  5. Have a cauldron failure on a Friday afternoon where the gold, slag and insulation combine into a giant 40 kg brain-shaped blob.  Pose with brain blob.
  6. Cool the brain and deposit into the safety deposit box, drive to Whitehorse, pose with Prime Minister at event (also uninvited…) while staff fix cauldron and will repour the $1mm baby.
  7. Quickly make video with son’s friend featuring a Stompin’ Tom song about finding gold in the Yukon.
RCMP officer, Bill and I with our gold bar in Toronto

8. Ship gold bar to Toronto, send Mountie to Toronto, fly to Toronto – meet up at event with 200 people from the financial community, government and Yukon mining/exploration industry.

9. Wait outside the room, get IT people to play video as you walk in. Motion to cut video sound, announce to everyone you are in the Yukon because of “THAT!”. Point to Mountie in the back of the room holding the gold bar. Tell everyone in the room they can pose with the gold and the Mountie.

10. Say really nice things about good people like the citizens of the Kaska Nation, mean it.

Yukon Mint with Kaska art

Okay, so I didn’t make any friends in the Yukon mining community that day (or most days), but let’s be honest the old boy system is dying…and oh the looks I got, it was worth it. And, except for the people who had to follow me on stage, everyone had a good time with the 40 kg gold bar that saved the company.

I still hold the record for number of inspections in one year – 54 government inspectors, but we stayed in business, have great stories, amazing memories and survived the good winters and bureaucrats. Started the Yukon Mint, featured Kaska First Nation artists on the gold coins we made, implemented an Elders in Residence program. And fortunately, I left the Yukon, let’s be real……rocks have been in the ground a long time, gonna be there a lot longer. I had fun, most of the time.

Janet is the host of Mined in America (MIA). MIA is a podcast intended to share more than you ever wanted to know about the fabulous, unpredictable, and challenging mining/extraction industry and why you should want to see more, again, in America.  

Team photo at 3 Aces


About the Author

Janet Sheriff

An innovative entrepreneur, Janet brings her extensive experience in all aspects of strategic planning, management, indigenous affairs and communications to start ups, new ventures and the mining & exploration sectors. Janet focuses her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership skills and vision to create new opportunities, award-winning innovative programs and new ways of conducting business. Her strong commitment to community engagement, sustainability and inclusion provides her the proven ability to work effectively and respectfully in cross-cultural environments.