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Canadian Mining Hall of Fame celebrates new inductees

Microphone stage

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame welcomed five exceptional individuals during its thirty-third annual induction ceremony and gala dinner in August at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The careers of industry giants Patricia Dillon, David Elliott, William Gladstone Jewitt, Steven D. Scott, and Mary Edith Tyrrell were celebrated for their contributions to the mining industry. The event was held outdoors on the terrace at the museum and due to the pandemic, the number of guests was limited to 125 in order to comply with Ontario’s health guidelines.

“It feels quite surreal to see you all here tonight — live and in person,” Pierre Gratton, chair of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, said in his opening remarks. “I don’t know about you, but I am pretty Zoomed out, so it’s wonderful to be here among such great company.”

Gratton noted that he was proud of how the mining industry had navigated Covid-19 and “continued to deliver the global supply of materials integral to the items each of us use every day.”

“Our time is now,” he continued. “Our sector delivers the critical minerals and metals needed for the global transition toward a low carbon future…Mining will be a constructive partner in the fight against climate change.” He also paid tribute to all the inductees of the Canadian Mining Hall and the group’s five newest members. “We are here tonight to celebrate our next group of individuals who make Canada’s mining industry a global leader…As exceptional leaders and champions, each of the inductees were instrumental in growing our sector.”

Master of ceremonies Anthony Vaccaro, publisher of The Northern Miner, brought levity to the event with several hand-picked anecdotes about each inductee. Calling Patricia Dillon “a force of nature,” Vaccaro noted that Dillon has “done so much good for this industry that we are trying to find a way to clone her so that each country with a mining industry can be steered in the right direction.”

Dillon was a female geologist in the 1970s, Vaccaro added, “back when being a female geologist was about as common as a Maple Leaf winning a playoff round is today.” He also quoted from Dillon’s geology professor at the University of Toronto, who told him that the young student stood out from the crowd and truly showed a love for learning. The professor went on to say, Vaccaro added: “’But that was not all she loved. Along came Ted, also an undergraduate and a geological engineer. They sat together in class and held hands, making notetaking a little difficult for both.’”

Steven D. Scott, Vaccaro joked, “may have been one of the industry’s deepest thinkers,” so deep “that he had to do his research on VMS deposits at the bottom of our ocean floors;” while fellow inductee David Elliott, an avid fly fisherman, “remains known for his humility and accessibility; you can pick up the phone and call him anytime and he will make time to listen and try to help. Well Dave, you might have a few more phone calls after tonight and need to reconsider that policy.”

As for William Gladstone Jewitt, Vaccaro said, the induction into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame is actually Jewitt’s second induction. His first was the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1978. “He brought aviation into exploration in a way that was never seen before, even training his geologist prospectors to fly themselves out to remote regions to do their work. They called it the Cominco Air Force.” Vaccaro noted that Jewitt was a true “renaissance man” who “could recite poetry in three languages, play the piano with virtuosity” and was an avid golfer. Finally, Vaccaro paid tribute to Mary Edith Tyrrell, or ‘Dollie’ as she was known.

Tyrrell created the Womens’ Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC), he said, and was “at the forefront of a movement to support and give back to communities in and around the mining sector. Edith gained technical expertise by reading her husband’s geologic texts in her own time, yet she was always focused on the bigger picture and how mining metals could make Canada and society at large a better place,” he summarized.

“Edith has previously been described as ‘the wife of’ renowned geologist and explorer and CMHF member, Joseph B. Tyrrell. Now is our opportunity to give Edith her due and refer to Dr. Tyrell as ‘the husband of’ WAMIC founder and CMHF inductee Mary Edith Tyrell.”

The first inductee of the evening was Patricia Dillon. Born in Toronto, Dillon earned a BSc in geology in 1974 and a Bachelor of Education in 1976 at the University of Toronto. She joined Teck Resources as a geologist in 1979 and advanced to more senior roles over her 32 years at the company. She also took volunteer positions with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM).

Corporate responsibility initiatives

Her positions included committee chair, board member and president of both organizations (PDAC president 2006-2008 and CIM president 2000-2001). She also contributed to the Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), specifically the group’s ‘Towards Sustainable Mining Initiative’ and was the founder of Mining Matters, a charitable organization focused on educating students about the Earth sciences and the minerals and mining industry.

“I knew I was always going to take the sciences and so I had signed up for biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics, but you needed another course back in the day,” Dillon said in a tribute video played for the audience. “So, I was flipping through the university calendar, at that time it was a printed document, and I saw geology and I thought, well, that’ll be a nice addition to the other sciences.”

Dillon’s highest mark was in geology and she took it as a sign to pursue the science. Her first summer job was as a field assistant exploring for copper deposits in Ontario with Esso Minerals. It was “actually right in cottage country,” Dillon recalls on the video, “so it was pretty nice for a summer job.”

After graduation, Dillon and her then fiancé, Ted, both worked over the summer for Teck. “We ended up getting hired as a field team to go and work in Newfoundland around the Newfoundland zinc mines property,” she recounts on the video. But Dillon also says she recognized that she and Ted would have to “diversify” their skillset since they were in the same industry, and consequently she decided to go back to university and get a bachelor degree of education.

After teaching science at Lorne Park secondary school, Teck offered her a job she couldn’t refuse. She joined the company in 1979 and worked in various positions from project geologist to senior geologist. Between 2001 and 2007 she was Teck’s manager of corporate relations; from 2007-2008 manager of corporate affairs and government relations; and from 2008 until 2011, director of employee communications and engagement, and director of industry relations.

“Pat was a trusted, strategic and genuine leader within Teck’s management team that helped build a culture of meaningful employee engagement, Don Lindsay, Teck’s president and CEO, said in the video. “Pat empowered those around her to meet shared goals and did so with boundless energy. Her legacy is still felt throughout the organization today.”

Dillon’s passion for education led her to create in 1994 Mining Matters, dedicated to producing educational resources promoting knowledge about the minerals industry. She has held the position of president and CEO of Mining Matters for more than 25 years. The organization created its first Indigenous programming in 2002. Today Mining Matters has reached over 780,000 youth, educators and members of the public, and programs are delivered in English, French and Indigenous languages.

“Few individuals have so deeply and successfully helped build, nurture and spread the goodwill of Canada’s mining industry as Pat Dillon,” Teck’s Lindsay said.

Dillon’s career also included a secondment from Teck to work with the Lassonde Mineral Engineering program. “Pat’s commitments and enthusiasm in promoting the engineering profession and helping students get the most out of their university days through finding them summer jobs and employment made Pat the go-to person in the department,” Pierre Lassonde, a 2013 inductee of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, said on the tribute video. “Our applications to the program soared through her tenure and that’s a direct reflection of her work.”

Dillon said she was “happy, grateful, honoured, thankful and overwhelmed,” when she accepted the award. “It is an overwhelming honour to be inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and to be joining the builders of Teck, Dr. Keevil, Dr. Keevil Sr., Bob Hallbauer, David Thompson and Ed Thompson, already recognized for their incredible contributions to the Canadian mining industry.”

The evening’s second inductee was Steven D. Scott, one of Canada’s most prolific and influential geoscientist researchers in the last fifty years. Scott ((1941-2019) was born in Fort Frances, Ontario and earned bachelor and master degrees in geology in 1963 and 1964, respectively, at the University of Western Ontario, followed by a PhD (1968) in geochemistry and mineralogy from Pennsylvania State University.

“I don’t believe there has been a Canadian or international scientist who has had a bigger impact on the education and research of marine geology,” Russell Pysklywec, a professor and chair of earth sciences at the University of Toronto, said on the tribute video. “His work—both as a primary researcher and leader in advancing this entire community has shaped current thinking on how hydrothermal systems and volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits develop.”

Scott joined the University of Toronto in 1969 and at the time was the institution’s youngest professor. Early in his career as an experimental geochemist, Scott developed the sphalerite geobarometer, a tool used to estimate temperature and pressure of formation or metamorphism of deposits, which helped predict the content of volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits.

He later focused on “black smokers” and the genesis of seafloor massive sulphides. In 1982 Scott participated in an expedition aboard an ALVIN submersible investigating black smokers and later became a renowned marine scientist.

“As early as 1984 he was the first to recognize that the seafloor deposits could be an economic resource, which led to his interest on how they could be recovered, and limiting environmental issues,” Andrew Conly, an associate professor in the department of geology at Lakehead University, commented on the tribute video. “And within about 30 years after that initial discovery an innovative industry now exists around the concept of mining seafloor polymetallic deposits. Steve himself was a discoverer/co-discoverer of several deep seafloor metal-precipitating hydrothermal sites, including the Solwara 1 deposit in eastern Manus Basin, offshore Papua New Guinea.”

Scott went on 31 oceanographic expeditions and published 187 scientific papers. The body of students he educated around the world is affectionately called the “Scott Diaspora” by his wife Joan. He also was a visiting professor at universities in Australia, France, Hawaii and Japan. “Everybody was important to him,” Joan said on the video. “He would have them as grad students, and then they would become colleagues, and they would be wherever all over the world.”

“He was enthusiastic about his job,” Joan continued.  “He was enthusiastic about geology, enthusiastic about people knowing it, and about science and people knowing about science.”

Jim Franklin, an inductee into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2019, couldn’t agree more. “Steve managed to make them all outstanding because he taught them well, he mentored them well.”

“Steve is kind of like the great grandfather of the whole development of research out there now, that has dozens and dozens of top-notch people doing it [and] are following in his footsteps, really.”

Scott’s son Don and daughter Sue Killey accepted the award on their father’s behalf. “If Steve were here tonight he would be thanking all his colleagues, here and around the world, who challenged him, questioned him, carried his rock samples, helped with experiments, organized oceanographic cruises, pushed him into the computer age, or enjoyed a cold beer after a long day’s work,” Don said. “You all know the parts you played in his career to make it as special and as diversified as it was. Steve loved a party and this was always one of his favourites!”

The third inductee of the night was Mary Edith Tyrrell (1870-1945). Tyrrell was born in Saint John in New Brunswick and nicknamed “Dollie” at birth because she weighed just three pounds. After living in New Brunswick for 17 years, her father, a Baptist minister, took the family to England for six years, before moving back to Canada and settling in Ottawa.

Tyrrell was introduced to the mining industry through Joseph B. Tyrell, who when she met him, was already a renowned explorer and map-maker with the Geological Survey of Canada. Prior to their marriage in 1894, Tyrrell had discovered dinosaur bones and coal deposits in Alberta. (He was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1997).

Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada

The couple travelled throughout their marriage, including to the Yukon during the Klondike gold rush, but moved to Toronto in 1905, where Joseph worked as a mining geology consultant. During their marriage Tyrrell was often away in the field for long periods of time, and she felt a need to connect with other wives of men in the industry. During World War I, Tyrrell joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, and in March 1921 she organized a group of ten mining wives to launch the Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada (WAMIC).

 The group’s goal was to foster friendship among women in the mining industry or women associated with the mining industry; serve the industry and generate well-being in the community. Members of the organization in its early years supported war veterans in the 1920s; disaster relief in the 1930s; and the war effort in the 1940s. The WAMIC celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this year.

“Towards the end of the 1930s, each member was asked to contribute $2 to a scholarship fund that they established for a student in the geologic, geology, or mining sciences,” Nean Allman, principal of Allman and Associates Corporate Communications, says on the tribute video.

Tyrrell served as WAMIC’s president for three years and since the organization was founded, it has distributed over C$1.8 million to good causes, including C$300,000 to various charities, C$300,000 in scholarships, and C$616,000 from the Sophia Wood bequest.

“I have been touched many times by the legacy of the founder of WAMIC,” David Harquail, chairman of Franco-Nevada’s board of directors, said in the tribute video, noting that as a mining student he had received an ‘Edith Tyrrell’ scholarship. “That $2,000 was then a princely sum for a student. In the 80s and 90s I saw WAMIC members tirelessly support the PDAC and CIM conventions when those organizations were so much more dependent on volunteers than today. I am grateful to both Edith Tyrell and the WAMIC organization she created.”

Peter Dalton, Tyrrell’s great-grandson, accepted her award. “As you can imagine, the limelight has been on her husband, my great grandfather, JB Tyrell,” he said. “I am honoured to be here today as we celebrate Edith and the remarkable woman she was.”

The fourth inductee of the evening, William Gladstone Jewitt (1897-1978), was honoured for making lasting contributions to mapping and mineral exploration in northern Canada.

During World War I, Jewitt joined Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and for the first couple of years was a machine gunner in France. He later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in England and became an instructor. At the end of the war, he became a test pilot for the Royal Air Force in Europe. A mid-air collision brought Jewitt’s time in England to an end.

“The other plane fluttered down and landed safely on the field,” his Jewitt’s son John, said on the tribute video. “Dad pulled out of the dive just in time to fly right through the main hangar doors, and the big Marlin engine in front of that plane he was flying took out seven other aircraft, as well as his own. That’s when he smashed his front teeth and both knees, and he survived.”

In 1923 Jewitt graduated with a BSc in mining engineering from the University of Alberta. His first few jobs were teaching a course in assaying for Royalite Oil, and was one of the first people researching ways of recovering petroleum from Alberta’s oil sands; and at Coleman Collieries and a gypsum mine in Nova Scotia. He then joined Cominco (which later became Teck Resources) as an assayer at the company’s smelter in Trail, British Columbia. In 1929 he transferred to the mining group as an exploration engineer and pilot, where he trained company engineers and geologists to fly as part of their exploration responsibilities. At the time the company had twelve planes that were used to explore unmapped territory in Canada’s North, especially in the Northwest Territories. Jewitt was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1978 for his work mapping the uncharted North. (In 1930, he landed on the shores of Victoria Island in Canada’s High Arctic, setting a record at the time for the most northerly flight in the country.)

Jewitt contributed to the success of many projects during his career at Cominco. He retired as Cominco’s Vice President of Mines when he was 65 but continued working until he was 80 with Pine Point Mines, Coast Copper and Western Mines. “He was one of the giants in Canadian Mining in the mid-1900s and a legend at Cominco, as he led the modernizing of the Sullivan mine and the expansion at Pine Point in the north and Magmont in Missouri,” Norman Keevil, Teck’s chairman emeritus, said on the tribute video.

Jewitt’s son John accepted his father’s award in a pre-recording dispatched from the United States. “I know that he will treasure this prize alongside his membership in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.”

David Elliott, the fifth inductee of the evening, is one of Canada’s preeminent resource financiers and founding partner of Haywood Securities. Over the course of his career, Elliott has funded more than 400 exploration and development companies and supported and mentored a generation of mining geoscientists. From its humble beginnings with 15 employees in Vancouver in 1986, Haywood Securities has grown to 300 employees and $16 billion of assets under management. “David has been instrumental in Haywood’s success and its four decade long focus on supporting Canada’s mining and exploration industry, deservedly earning him a reputation as one of the industry’s most dependable sources of capital for junior mining exploration companies,” Robert Blanchard, Haywood’s CEO, said in a video tribute.

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Elliott’s career in mining germinated during high school. While working as a caddy on a golf course, he heard golfers talking about their jobs on the stock market. In 1968 he joined the Montreal stock exchange as a junior programmer. A year later he became a securities trader in the city at brokerage firm Dougherty Robertson MacQuaid, and was later transferred to Vancouver, where he also spent summers working for a prospector in the Yukon. He joined West Coast Securities in 1972.and got his first taste of funding exploration projects, and also used his own money to invest in projects like Afton Mines.

“I, of course, didn’t have a lot of money but I bought some shares and then I watched the price go down,” Elliott recounts in the tribute video. “Anyway, they made a very significant discovery and drilled her off. It was later sold to Teck Resources and Teck put it into production. So I thought, well gee, this business is pretty easy. You just have to find some exploration projects and go drill them and you’ll find a mine. Well, it didn’t take me long to lose that money that I made on Afton, drilling some other exploration projects!”

The experience seeded what became Elliott’s fundamental philosophy on investing in mining companies and projects. “What I decided to do was to back really good science, and partner with geoscientists that had a track record of discovery, that were passionate about the search for minerals,” Elliott said on the video. “It’s very, very high risk, so you’ve got to be prepared to take those risks and it’s not for the faint of heart, for sure.”

Elliott strengthened Haywood’s research, corporate finance and compliance departments during the 1990s and added an institutional desk in 1998. Among his career wins was his involvement in a predecessor of Glamis Gold, which Goldcorp acquired in 2006 for $8.6 billion. He also teamed up with Stewart L. Blusson to form Pioneer Metals and backed Blusson’s early exploration for diamonds in Canada. Other success stories was an initial C$5 million financing for Arequipa Resources, which went on to find the Pierina gold deposit in Peru. Barrick Gold acquired Arequipa and the 10 million oz. Pierina deposit in 1996 for C$1.1 billion. Elliott also supported a string of other companies, including Bema Gold, Alamos Gold, CGA Mining, GlobeTrotter Resource Group, Midas Gold, Ventana Gold, Reservoir Minerals, Fiore Gold, EMX Royalties and Transition Metals, among others.

“When you have someone like David, who is there to support you through and help you make good choices, I think it’s invaluable,” Richard Osmond, CEO of GlobeTrotters said on the video. “It really makes a huge difference to the success of a company and it gets you through those downturns, and when the money does get difficult. He gives you support that you’d need to keep things together and keep moving forward.”

Osmond added that Elliott’s support knew no boundaries. When he and his partners were attacked and shot on a road in Peru, Elliott “jumped on a plane and he was in Peru by the time we managed to get back to Lima,” he said. “And he spent pretty much the next week just by our side, that’s the kind of person he is.”

 Andrew Williams, a partner at Haywood Securities, described Elliott as a patient investor. “David is not fazed by the volatile equity markets and the cyclical nature of the commodity market,” he noted in the video. “Instead, he focuses on the project, management, and good science. David is an extremely patient investor—he does not expect overnight success and supports companies through thick and thin with great poise and calmness even in the most turbulent markets.”

Fellow CMHF inductee Stewart L. Blusson, perhaps summed Elliott up best. “I can’t imagine that there is anyone in his line of work that has contributed more enduring benefit to the early-stage exploration in our industry, while at the same time mentoring so many others.”

In his acceptance speech, Elliott said his passion for the industry and raising financing for it, hasn’t diminished over the years. “Today at 73, I’m as passionate about the mineral sector as I was forty years ago and luckily, life and circumstance put me on a parallel path with those geologists and engineers I so admire. A path that has allowed me to make sure they have the financial backing to get the job done … the means to explore, to discover and ultimately to create value where none existed.”

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)