Caisse affiliate digs into global mining

MinQuest, the private equity firm funded by Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will pursue investment opportunities in the mining sector.

Montreal-based MinQuest Capital, a private equity firm with C$225 million (US$227 million; €147 million) in capital provided by Canadian public pension Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, sees opportunity in the global mining industry.

“This is a niche that wasn’t being filled,” Paul Carmel, MinQuest president and managing partner recently told the Montreal Gazette. “There aren’t too many private equity funds in mining. There’s probably less than 10 in the world.”

MinQuest is setting its sights on the global mining industry encompassing gold and precious metals as well as base metals, industrial metals and coal. It has already made four investments: Richmont Mines, a junior gold producer based in Montreal with properties in both Quebec and Ontario; Orezone, which owns 100 percent of the Esskane gold deposit in Burkino Faso, West Africa – the mine is expected to produce 300,000 ounces of gold over 10 years; Hillsborough Resources, which operates a thermal coal mine on Vancouver Island and has an interest in a metallurgical coal property in northeast B.C.; and GlobeStar which is currently building its 100-percent owned Cerro de Maimon copper mine in the Dominican Republic.

According to Carmel, the firm is seeking to fill the gap in mining financing due to overall turbulence affecting stocks. Private equity can answer needs that the public markets cannot, Carmel said.

Based in Montreal, MinQuest consists of a management team of eight professionals and a five-person advisory board. The firm was founded by Carmel who spent five years with The Sentient Group, a private equity mining organization before founding MinQuest. Carmel also worked for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec with the private equity group prior to Sentient.