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Canada's McEwen Mining aims for S&P500, sees gold on the rise

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05/09/2017 | 09:36pm CEST

Canadian resources magnate Rob McEwen aims to list his company McEwen Mining on the S&P 500 in two to three years' time to meet a rise he predicts in demand for gold as part of investor portfolios.

So far the only gold company listed on the S&P 500 is Newmont Mining.

"Our overriding goal is to get into the S&P 500," McEwen said, adding he aimed to achieve that in two-to-three years' time and expected an increased appetite for exposure to gold in investment portfolios.

McEwen made his fortune as the founder and former chairman and CEO of Goldcorp Inc., one of the world's largest gold producers.

He stepped down as head of Goldcorp in 2005 and his business card now describes him as chief owner of McEwen Mining, which in February this year announced it was buying Lexam VG Gold.

Reflecting his view that big bosses should not be overpaid, McEwen holds a 25 percent stake in his company but does not receive a salary.

"I think it should be tempered considerably," he said of executive pay. "They load up with options and give themselves big compensation. I think it should be one or the other, but not both."

For the first quarter, McEwen Mining reported a loss of a cent per share, which McEwen said was because of investment in new operations, including an open pit gold mine in Nevada, the United States, and copper in Argentina.

"We'll have negative cash flow and probably post losses through the year as we invest in our new projects," McEwen said in an interview on the sidelines of a mining conference in London.

The share price is down more than 10 percent since the start of the year.

McEwen said he hoped for a licence by the third quarter in Nevada and to start construction around the end of the year.

Well-known as a bull on the gold price, McEwen said gold at $5,000 an ounce was possible over the next four years, driven by increased demand for gold as a substitute for cash.

The spot gold price traded below $1,220 an ounce on Tuesday.

McEwen said he had "a hedge" in the form of copper assets, which many miners and analysts predict will see greater demand as China and India shift towards electric vehicles and improve their grids.

Some of McEwen's first quarter loss, he said, was because of spending on undeveloped copper assets in Argentina.

"We're moving towards a feasibility study. It would be a very long life asset. We're trying to package it to make it a compelling joint venture or sale," he said.

(Editing by Gareth Jones)

By Barbara Lewis

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