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The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame announces 2022 inductees

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame will welcome five new members at a gala dinner and induction ceremony on August 18, 2022 at the Palais Royale Ballroom in Toronto.  A limited number of tickets will go on sale for the event next year.

The Northern Miner is a cofounding member organization of the Hall of Fame, along with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, The Mining Association of Canada and The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. More details about the event can be found here.

F. Dale Corman

F. Dale Corman                                                            

(Born 1937)

The long and impressive list of mines and companies built by Dale Corman during a 50-year career is a testament to his ability to see the potential of early-stage opportunities and bring them to feasibility and fruition. He has served as president of seven public companies and director of 25 listed companies, and was involved in the development of seven mines and mineral deposits in Canada, and other parts of the world. His early successes in the 1970s included the high-grade Sturgeon Lake base metal mine in Ontario, the Lake George antimony mine in New Brunswick, and the Cullaton Lake gold mine in Nunavut.

In subsequent decades he led several Vancouver-based juniors, notably Western Copper Corp. and related entity Western Silver Corp. He was a tenacious champion of large copper and copper-gold projects, including the Carmacks and Casino deposits in the Yukon, which were both advanced to feasibility. The highlight of his career was the discovery and development of the world-class San Nicolas deposit and the Penasquito mine in central Mexico. Penasquito ultimately became Mexico’s largest gold mine and second-largest silver mine and an important asset for current operator Newmont Corporation.

Dale Corman was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, and earned a BSc in geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York in 1961. He spent several years in the investment industry before joining Harbinson Mining and Oil Group, where he helped manage a group of 15 listed junior companies. During this period, he was instrumental in bringing the Sturgeon Lake, Lake George and Cullaton Lake mines into production.

In 1989, Corman focused his attention on copper and precious metal deposits in Canada and Mexico. His company, Thermal Exploration, was then in a 50/50 partnership with Western Copper in the Carmacks deposit in the Yukon. A positive feasibility study was completed in 1994, and Thermal and Western Copper soon merged to form Western Copper Holdings with Corman as chairman and CEO. In 1997, Corman led Western Copper’s acquisition of the Penasquito project in Mexico, after seeing potential for a bulk-tonnage polymetallic mine. He also participated in a joint venture with Teck Corporation to explore the nearby San Nicolas prospect. Drilling of a large geophysical anomaly at San Nicolas led to the discovery of a large copper-zinc resource. Major discoveries at Pensaquito soon followed.

Corman moved to Vancouver in 2003. The same year, Western Copper changed its name to Western Silver to reflect the growing importance of the Mexican projects, which attracted investor and industry attention after positive feasibility studies were completed for both projects. In 2006, Glamis Gold acquired Western Silver and its Mexican assets for C$1.3 billion. Pensaquito was brought into production in 2009, after Glamis was acquired by Goldcorp (now part of Newmont), and has since produced more than four million ounces of gold along with other valuable metals.

Teck later acquired Goldcorp’s stake in San Nicolas, which is ranked as one of the largest undeveloped massive sulphide deposits in North America, and the largest in Mexico. Corman then returned to Western Copper (later Western Copper and Gold), which had been spun-out from Western Silver. While the copper assets are as yet undeveloped, some are still being evaluated, notably Casino, as evidenced by the involvement of Rio Tinto in 2021.

Maureen Jensen

Maureen C. Jensen                                                                                                

(Born 1956)

Few geologists have made the transition from the field to the boardroom more successfully than Maureen Jensen, or contributed as much to revitalize Canada’s mining and investment industries. She is best known as the first female to head the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), where she championed policies to improve investor protection and encourage diversity for executives and directors of public companies. Before joining the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Jensen served as SVP, surveillance and compliance, at the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and President at Market Regulation Services. She also held senior positions at the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), including Director of Mining Services during the aftermath of the Bre-X scandal. She was a TSX member of the Mining Standards Task Force that laid the groundwork for National Instrument 43-101, which became a globally recognized disclosure standard for mining projects. Jensen’s previous 20-year career in mining enabled her to take a pragmatic science-based approach to solving industry and regulatory challenges. She also played a leadership role in strengthening industry associations, notably the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). 

Born in Winnipeg, Jensen grew up in mining towns and learned the values of hard work and self-reliance after her mining engineer father died when she was eight. She worked and saved to attend the University of Toronto, where she earned a BSc in geology in 1979. She gained field experience as an exploration geologist in North America before joining Noble Peak Resources as vice-president of exploration in 1990. A year later, she became president and CEO, rose to chairman in 1997, and built the market cap of the company tenfold in five years. Jensen’s abilities and talents came to the fore in the wake of the Bre-X fraud. She was a valued TSX member of the Mining Standards Task Force and contributed to the creation of the 43-101 regulations and the “Qualified Person” concept to help restore investor confidence in the mining industry. She also was instrumental in the implementation by the TSX and OSC. Jensen joined the OSC as executive director and chief administrative officer in 2011 and was appointed Chair and CEO in 2016. She introduced policies for new advisor standards, disclosure of gender diversity on boards, elevated consumer protection and whistle-blower protection, among others, while advocating to provide Canada with a more flexible regulatory environment for mining and other public companies.

Jensen’s contributions to industry causes and associations were purposeful and far-reaching. She worked on the effort to regulate professional geoscience in Ontario and legislation was passed in 2000. She was active at the CIM and PDAC and served on several committees, notably CIM’s Exploration Best Practices and the PDAC’s board (1993-2008) and on the Student Affairs and Environment Committees. She also served as director of Mining Matters and was a spokesperson for the Keep Mining in Canada program. She is a longstanding champion of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in business and is chair of the Prosperity Project created to help women stay in the workforce during and after the Covid-19 crisis. Jensen has received broad public and industry recognition for her many achievements, including induction to the Investment Industry Hall of Fame (2020), Toronto Life magazine’s list of 50 most influential people in 2013 and 2014, PDAC’s Distinguished Service Award (2008), CIM’s Robert Elver Mineral Economics (2004) and CIM’s Distinguished Lecturer (2000) awards.

Phillip Mackey

Phillip John Mackey                                               

(Born 1941)

Although born in Australia, Phillip Mackey is known worldwide as one of Canada’s most prominent metallurgists in the field of non-ferrous extractive metallurgy. He is one of the few Canadians to have advanced the development of not one but two significant copper smelting technologies that have benefited copper metallurgical plants around the world. He co-developed the Noranda Reactor Process that has treated roughly 40 million tonnes of copper concentrate since its inception in Canada alone, and about 80 million tonnes globally, making it a major non-ferrous smelting technology. He co-invented the Noranda Converting Process, which has produced more than four million tonnes of copper since the late 1990s and remains the world’s third most productive copper converting technology. In addition to these and other technical achievements, Mackey expanded industry knowledge as a prolific author of technical papers, renowned lecturer, and inspirational mentor of young metallurgists. 

Mackey obtained a BSc (Honours) from the School of Metallurgy at the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1963, and completed his doctorate there in 1969. He then moved to Montreal to join the Noranda Research Centre, which was then striving to develop a new autogenous smelting process to smelt concentrate to metal in one step. Other smelting processes had been developed, but were not compatible with the feed flexibility that Noranda was seeking. As Pilot Plant Supervisor, Mackey helped develop the Noranda Reactor Process, which was first implemented at the Horne smelter in the early 1970s. The process also achieved early success in the United States, Australia, and China, and soon evolved to become the world’s best process for making a high-grade matte.

Mackey was later instrumental in developing the Noranda Converting Process, which was installed at the Horne smelter in the late 1990s, and provided enhanced environmental performance compared to the former converter. The Noranda Converter was one of the first continuous converters to be installed worldwide and has since produced more than about four million tonnes of copper. He was involved with other initiatives during his career with Noranda (and related entities such as Falconbridge and Xstrata), including new developments for processing lateritic nickel deposits, and concluding technology agreements with other nations, notably Chile. He conducted due diligence and technical studies on a range of projects around the world. His expertise has benefited numerous metallurgical operations and continuous improvement projects. He formed his own consulting company after leaving Xstrata and this has led to a range of projects worldwide, including work on the development of a new nickel laterite project in Brazil.

Mackey mentored a new generation of metallurgists as a professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury, and as a Special Lecturer at McGill University in Montreal. He also was an honorary professor at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China.

He was a co-founder of the Copper-Cobre conferences, which expanded from a joint Canadian-Chilean enterprise to embrace the entire global industry. Mackey is on the board of Hazen Research in Denver in the United States.

He is a strong supporter of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and is a past-president of the Metallurgical Society (METSOC). A fellow of CIM and of The Minerals, Metals and Material Society (TMS) in the United States, Mackey has authored or co-authored more than 100 technical papers covering diverse aspects of non-ferrous metallurgy. His CIM and METSOC Awards include the Silver Medal (2006), a Special Medal of Honour (2007), the Selwyn G Blaylock Medal (2010), and the prestigious Airey Award (2012) for “outstanding contributions” to the field of extractive metallurgy.

He has earned many honours over the years, including the Noranda Technology Award (1998) for his continuous converting process. The Phillip Mackey Symposium was held in his honour at the 2019 Copper Conference in Vancouver. He presented the TMS Extractive & Processing Division Distinguished Lecture in 2020 and received the John Elliott Lectureship Award of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology for 2021-2022.

Robert Quartermain

Robert Quartermain                                                                            

(Born 1955)

The career path of Robert Quartermain encompasses several distinct phases of success, starting with a pivotal role in the discovery of Ontario’s Hemlo gold camp in the early 1980s. He began his career as a geologist for Teck Corporation and gained rare and valuable experience at Hemlo and other mines. In 1985, he was recruited to manage Teck’s associated junior and mid-sized companies. Among them was Silver Standard Resources, which he grew from a market cap of C$2 million into a global silver miner valued in excess of C$2.5 billion. In 2010, he ventured on his own to form Pretivm Resources, based on an unshakeable belief that its high-grade Brucejack prospect in northern British Columbia had the makings of a mine. His faith was validated when Brucejack became Canada’s fourth-largest gold mine with annual production of 350,000 ounces.

Quartermain is a longstanding advocate for Indigenous involvement in the resource industry and a generous philanthropist with a focus on education, social justice and wildlife habitat preservation. His social conscience has deep roots from his childhood in St. Stephens, New Brunswick. He learned leadership skills as a young RCAF Air Cadet and in 2019 was appointed an Honorary Colonel in the RCAF for his support of the Canadian Armed Forces. Quartermain graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a BSc (Honours, geology) in 1977, and later remembered his alma mater with a C$1 million contribution to its Earth Sciences Department (now the Quartermain Earth Science Center) and funding for research and six geoscience scholarships.

Quartermain joined Teck in 1981, after earning his MSc in mineral exploration from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was assigned to manage exploration drilling of the Corona gold prospect at Hemlo and outlined the deposit that later became the David Bell mine, the first in the camp. He saw similar potential at an adjacent property and urged Teck to option it; however Teck was outbid by Noranda, which developed it into the Golden Giant mine. Quartermain was then transferred to Vancouver as president of Silver Standard Resources, where he put together a strong exploration team. Their ability to discover or acquire quality assets impressed Teck and Quartermain and his team were tasked to manage other Teck affiliates including Western Copper Holdings with its initial focus into Mexico leading to the San Nicholas discovery, and Mutual Resources/Golden Knight Resources, which acquired a minority interest in the Tarkwa gold mine in Ghana. Silver Standard, meanwhile, through strong shareholder financial support, was able to acquire a joint-venture interest in the Manantial Espejo mine, and developed the Pirquitas mine, both in Argentina, while advancing many other silver projects such as Silvertip, San Agustin and Pitarilla.

After building Silver Standard (now SSR Mining) into a major silver-focussed producer, Quartermain focused his attention on forming Pretivm Resources and acquiring the Brucejack property in B.C. He and his team negotiated agreements with First Nations and raised $540 million to construct a 3,800-tonne-per-day mine. Brucejack has been profitable since it commenced commercial production in July 2017. From a geological concept to Canada’s fourth-largest gold mine in a decade is a testament to his skills as a geoscientist and company builder. Quartermain has received many awards over the years, notably MABC’s Mining Person of the Year (2017), CIM’s A.O. Dufresne award (2016), Vale Inco Medal (2010), PDAC’s Bill Dennis award (2013), Association for Mineral Exploration (AME) BC’s Murray Pezim award (2009) and an Honorary doctor of science (DSc) degree from the University of New Brunswick in 2009.

Peter Risby

Peter Risby

(1931-2011)                                                                                                                

The life story and career accomplishments of Peter (“Pete”) Risby are truly extraordinary in Canadian mining history. He was a tenacious entrepreneur who overcame adversity to become a successful prospector and miner in northern Canada. He began prospecting in 1957, initially for syndicates, and later on his own or with Indigenous partners. His early finds included the Risby-Tungsten property in Yukon and the Lee property in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The Lee project was the foundation for his involvement with Welcome North Mines and subsequent discovery of more than 80 projects optioned to major companies. In 1981, Risby began exploring the placer potential of the Indian River Valley near Dawson City. He went on to develop and operate the Indian River mine, which became a leading gold producer and a major contributor to the Yukon’s economy.

Risby’s life story is equally inspiring. He was born in Kansas in 1931, to a Black railway porter and a German nursing student who fled to Canada to avoid persecution by the KKK. The family settled in a Cree community in Alberta, where they were welcomed. Here, Risby learned vital bush navigation and survival skills. Risby was forced to attend a residential school, but escaped at age seven and never returned. He spoke fluent Cree, and could read but not write. He was a keen learner who developed an uncanny photographic memory, and applied these skills to navigate life. As a teenager, he was hired as a Cree interpreter for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during treaty negotiations in northern Canada. At age 18, he joined the Canadian Army and served in the Korean War, where he was wounded. He applied the mechanical skills learned in the military and became a heavy-equipment operator at the Cassiar asbestos mine, where he met a geologist who sparked his interest in rocks and minerals. He began prospecting in the Yukon, and sold his first claims to Johns Manville Co., then the world’s largest asbestos producer. He discovered tungsten in the Pelly Mountains and formed an enduring friendship and partnership with Al Kulan (2005 CMHF inductee).

In 1967, Risby and Indigenous prospector Art John staked a copper-lead-zinc-tungsten discovery near Godlin Lake, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The discovery sparked a staking rush and the formation of Welcome North Mines, which he co-founded with Kulan, John Brock and Irene Wilson. As chief prospector and director for a decade, Risby found over 80 prospects that were optioned to major companies. Due to his upbringing among the Alberta Cree, Risby was an advocate for inclusion in the industry.

He spent several years teaching prospecting and mineral identification courses to Indigenous students and was one of the first to hire women for exploration programs. In 1981, he left Welcome North to prospect the vast Indian River Valley south of Dawson. He was the first to seriously evaluate the placer gold potential of the area and soon saw potential for a larger scale mine than most “mom-and-pop” operations of that time. He faced challenges, but persevered and ultimately developed, owned and operated the Indian River placer mine. Government reports of the time described it as a “leading gold producer” that “contributed significantly to the economy of the Yukon.” The project attracted international attention, as did Risby, who joined an International mining delegation to China in 1995. He was inducted into the Yukon Prospectors Hall of Fame and named Mr. Miner in 1996, for his technical achievements, economic contributions and as a trail-blazing advocate of diversity and Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s minerals industry.

The 2022 CMHF Gala Dinner and Induction Ceremony takes place August 18, 2022 at the Palais Royale Ballroom in Toronto. More details about the event can be found here.

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)