Michelle Rios, President of Blue Tiger Leadership, LLC, Top 10 Admired Leaders of 2023

Peter Espig
President & CEO
Nicola Mining Inc.

Michelle Rios, President of Blue Tiger Leadership, LLC

“Guiding towards Great Heights”

Peter Espig assumed the role of President and CEO of Nicola Mining on November 7, 2013. He guided the company through its restructuring, which included entering the company into CCAA and successfully exiting on November 21, 2014. He is experienced in analyzing investment opportunities, raising capital, deal sourcing, financial structuring, and corporate turnaround. Peter has structured over US$2.0 billion in private equity and pre-IPO investment transactions from the principal side and is a pioneer of SPACs, having completed over $1.0 BN in transactions. As a former executive at Goldman Sachs and Olympus Capital, a New York private equity firm, he had a strong financial foundation that led him to become a pioneer of special acquisition companies (SPACs), where he completed two of the early mega transactions (US$1.2 BN) before retiring in 2008.  

The prospect of taking over the turnaround opportunity of Nicola Mining Inc., which was Huldra Silver Inc. at the time, allowed Peter to leverage his turnaround and M&A experiences and felt like a serendipitous full circle of his career. “You see, when I was young, I worked as an exploration diamond driller during high school and undergrad,” he says. “Today I am guiding the company into a diamond drilling exploration program at our wholly owned New Craigmont Copper Project located near Merritt, BC, 33 km south of Teck Resources Ltd.’s Highland Valley Copper, Canada’s largest copper mine so it feels like my working career is coming full circle back to my days as a young man.”  

What makes Nicola Mining unique is that Peter tries to instill in younger executives that have just raised capital to abandon the concept of “Ok, we’ve raised money, how do we spend it,” and embrace the concept of “Ok, we have funds …. How do we minimize burn and move towards positive cash flow.” Nicola Mining employees are taught to understand that success is not achieved by completing complicated tasks but by completing simple tasks well. Even though Nicola Mining is a mining company, embracing creativity is essential. “We are a junior mining company that is one of the few that can say under current management that it has morphed from a distressed enterprise to a cash flow positive miner,” he adds. “Being a leader, one has to always keep themselves aligned with the vision and mission of the company and that is exactly what I have done and teaches the same. I ensure that my team educates themselves and also enhances their skills with the best of resources because this will lead to a successful company being supported by successful employees.”  

Nicola Mining Inc. is a junior mining company listed on the TSX Venture and Frankfurt Exchanges that maintains a 100% owned mill and tailings facility located near Merritt, British Columbia. It has signed Mining and Milling Profit Share Agreements with multiple high-grade gold projects. Nicola’s fully permitted mill can process gold and silver mill feed via gravity and flotation. The company owns 100% of the New Craigmont Project, a high-grade copper property, which covers an area of 10,913 hectares along the southern end of the Guichon Batholith and is adjacent to Teck Resources Ltd.’s Highland Valley Copper, Canada’s largest copper mine. The company also owns 100% of the Treasure Mountain Property, comprising 51 mineral tenures, 21 legacy claims: 100 cell units, and five crown grants for approximately 2,850 hectares.  

In addition to executing on mining milestones, since 2017, under Peter’s guidance Nicola has demonstrated again and again its commitment to ESG, Environmental, First Nation and the General Community at a level we rarely observe especially in light of the number of companies out there who talk the talk but do not walk it very well.

Peter explained to us Nicola’s Corporate Philosophy in this way: “We understand the impacts of pollution and climate change, so we make a point to think outside the box exploring potential opportunities that mutually benefit our shareholders as well as local communities.  Measuring, monitoring, and reducing our impact on the environment is a team effort and core to our philosophy, so our employees are trained to mitigate the impact of our operations and to always do the right thing. We are invested in leaving a positive legacy in every community with which we work, especially in the Lower Nicola Region.”   

Let’s do a quick review since 2017 which is when Nicola signed a 30-year contract to utilize fly ash from Merritt’s Clean Energy Biomass-Fired Power Plant for the purpose of dust reclamation. The state-of-the-art Green electricity plant feeds electricity into the Merritt’s Grid System that also supplies Nicola with its power needs. The Plant generates an estimated 285GWh of electricity to supply enough clean energy to power 40,000 households, offsetting 95,000t of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) a year.   

He successfully lobbied for a permit amendment allowing Nicola to receive both fly ash and remediated soils as part of its long-term New Craigmont Mine Site Reclamation Plan. The material functions as ground cover, reduces dust, and is subsequently seeded with local vegetation. Last but not least, in the Spring of 2022, he demonstrated his commitment to the entire region’s local communities especially to Indigenous Relations & Mutual Initiatives, when he signed an agreement with  Lower Nicola Site Services Ltd. (“LNSS”) that put Nicola’s entire Gravel, Sand, Aggregate, Rip-Rap   Quarry at the disposal of its Operators for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (“MOTI”) to aid in the repairing of the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 99, Highway 7, Highway 3, Highway 5, and Highway 8, which were heavily damaged by extensive regional flooding in November of 2021.  For a more detailed background, we encourage readers to take a closer look at the links provided to see the standards he has set for Nicola. ESG, Environmental, First Nation and the General Community   

Over the past year, the Company has become increasingly international, which leverages Peter’s background and provides excitement to its Board of Directors and employees. He explained, “Serendipitously, coinciding with our embracing of ESG principles is our active development of the Craigmont Copper Project, a GREEN metal. Our goal is, not only to maintain current initiatives but to also consider new ones. True, we are on a GREEN Power Grid, but there are often other ways to minimize fossil fuel consumption and enhance the environment. We are as green a mining company as there is, and we take a great deal of pride in that. We are always on the lookout for new opportunities at Nicola Mining Inc.”  


Nicola Mining Inc.


Peter Espig
President & CEO
Nicola Mining Inc.


Nicola Mining Inc. (TSX-V.NIM) is a public resource mining company with a successful management team experienced in consolidating and unlocking asset value of its high-potential assets.

Admired Leaders Magazine