Harry Barr, President and CEO of Pacific North West Capital (PFN), is leading his company to develop a myriad of recent project acquisitions and long term exploration projects in proven geological areas of North America. With his direct style and effective management model, Barr has an aggressive agenda for PFN (www.pfncapital.com).
In April of this year, PFN, a mineral exploration and development company, announced the commencement of Phase 1 of a $5 million drill program for its 100% owned River Valley Platinum Group Metals (PGM) project in Sudbury, Ontario. Barr is a man who not only enjoys the process of acquiring properties, but has a clear idea of how to develop their true potential and unlock mineral wealth for shareholders.
Barr didn't start off with a goal to be in mining. Having worked on a fourth generation family farm while growing up, he went on to study agribusiness in college. Upon graduation, Barr was asked by his uncle to join him in the jungles of Colombia to run a gold mine he had acquired in 1979. It was while working in Colombia that the mining bug bit Barr, and it bit hard.
After a few years of assisting his uncle, Barr moved in 1985 from Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia. At the age of 28, with $18,000 in his pocket and a trailer full of his life possessions hitched to a tiny Pontiac 6000, a determined Barr headed West. His goal was to turn his experience and knowledge of the industry into a business, and in Vancouver he found the venture capital he needed to start his first company. Not even getting stuck in a blizzard in the middle of the Rockies could deter him from his goals.
At 29 Barr started his first public company in Vancouver. Over a period of twenty years, he ran a total of four companies, before eventually forming the International Metals Group (IMG); all with the help of a well-rounded, and experienced technical and administrative team.
Barr describes IMG as the “brain bank” that manages his group of diverse mining and exploration companies, including PFN. These companies currently systematically search for gold, silver, PGMs and base metals in five countries. Over a span of 25 years Barr’s companies have collectively completed over 35 deals with some of the world’s largest mining companies. He has negotiated at least 15 option joint ventures with Mid-tier companies, and over 300 with Junior companies. In total, Barr has raised over $500 million dollars for mineral projects in 9 countries.
Eventually, Barr decided that running four companies required individual Presidents to assist him. Said Barr, “I set up a plan from 2004-2007 to replace myself in three of my four companies and I did just that. By 2007, I was heading just one company: Pacific North West Capital”.
Having been a gold bug since he was 23 years old, Barr recognized the fact that smart investors were searching for near term gold production companies. In the spring of 2009, with that objective in mind, and a belief in the gold industry, Barr and his team completed a second IPO in Canada with Fire River Gold, during one of the roughest times in the financial markets. That was the beginning of Barr’s new gold company, Fire River Gold (FAU).
FAU, headed by Barr as CEO, acquired the Nixon Fork Gold Mine in central Alaska and in less than 2 years completed non-brokered financings for the company in the amount of $35 million. With the help of some very experienced veteran engineers, geologists, and mining and milling specialists, Barr established a complete gold production team, including a very experienced Chairman and President.
In March of 2011 Barr stepped down as CEO of FAU, but remains a large shareholder and Financial Consultant to the company. In early July 2011, FAU announced it had secured a gold sales arrangement with Johnson Mathey and began production, with the first full production quarter slated for the end of 2011. (www.firerivergold.com).
PFN itself is also a large shareholder of FAU and will continue to monitor the progress of this emerging gold producer, and play a vital role in the upside of Fire River through its share ownership.
In the Fall of 2009 the board of directors for El Nino Ventures (ELN), another of Barr’s companies, asked him to return to the role of President. At the time, ELN was under-funded and heading into litigation to solve the problems created by a foreign manager. This case resulted wholly in favor of ELN by virtue of a very tenacious Barr being at the helm.
During the course of the trial, management of ELN was still able to secure two deals on its base metal projects in the Bathurst Mining Camp in New Brunswick. These were struck with two of the world’s largest zinc producers: Xstrata Zinc and Votorantim. (www.elninoventures.com).
Barr's remarkable success and leadership skills come from the application of a simple strategy: hiring the best people in the industry, pushing them hard and treating them well. Because of the time he spends with his team members most become long term friends. Barr says, “I have a coach that I work with - a ‘virtual’ CEO – who helps us set up our business plans for the group of companies, so we can collectively reach our milestones. Essentially, he helps me monitor our productivity as a group. He initially started out just as my coach, but now is an integral part of the business and loves it”.
Among the milestones for which Harry Barr is most proud of in the last few months is the acquisition of the River Valley PGM Project for PFN in April 2011. After 2.6 years of negotiations with the world’s largest PGM producer, Anglo Platinum, the deal was closed. Making it one of the only major PGM discoveries in North America in the past two decades. Within days of the acquisition, Barr’s technical team mounted a multi-phase drill program and the results to date have been stellar.
What has made Harry Barr a prolific leader in mining exploration and property acquisition in the industry?
It is his love of mining, a talent for facing the challenges of exploration, the never ending possibilities of wealth creation for his shareholders and, as he puts it, “an appreciation of the characters behind this action-packed game”. Add to that “the challenge of assembling an All-Star team of skilled technical, administrative and finance people with clear cut objectives that will create real value for our shareholders”, and Harry Barr has his reasons for “getting up early, going to bed late and enjoying every moment of my day”.
Barr's enthusiasm and passion for the industry has encouraged his own staff and support team to commit themselves to mining and exploration as deeply as he has. Many have remained loyal to Barr throughout the years. When asked why, they attribute it to Barr’s tireless, straightforward and honest approach to the business, describing him as the positive visionary force which drives the success of Pacific Northwest Capital, and the International Metals Group (www.internationalmetalsgroup.com).