The Lone Gold Mine Holdout
Source: The Canadian Press, Andy Blatchford (7/15/10)
"Man atop largest untapped gold deposit refuses to move 'for any price.'"
He's literally sitting on a gold mine. And he's determined to stop a multibillion-dollar project to exploit one of Canada's biggest gold reserves.
In his battle against a mining company, Masse is clearly the underdog. He doesn't have a lawyer, draws a momentary blank when asked his age and is constantly accompanied by a fast-talking, self-described billionaire adviser who wears a Hawaiian shirt caked with dried crud.
But the man with a jungle of reddish beard told The Canadian Press he's convinced he'll succeed in keeping a mining company from digging under his Quebec home.
Masse's Malartic childhood abode is all that stands in the way of production on what may be Canada's largest untapped gold deposit.
For a year his house has been just about the only thing standing on the lunar landscape, once the town's oldest district.
Lucrative buyout offers and an expropriation order have failed to move Masse from his mother's rickety, 70-year-old house (municipally evaluated at $14,000). He claims his family has turned down offers of $100,000, $350,000 and $4M from Osisko Mining Corp. in exchange for the property.
"The more they want to take it away from me, the more attached I get to it," said Masse, noting his decision is based on principle—environmental concerns and the good of Malartic—not the desire for a bigger payday.
The days of his oasis in the Malartic desert could be numbered. Last month, the Montreal-based company sent Masse an expropriation order in an attempt to clear him out before the mine's planned June 2011 production start date.
But Masse insists he's not going anywhere—not for any price.