I hated math and science until I took an innocuous Natural History course at Hampshire College in Massachusetts whereby the first lecture went straight into the chart of nuclides and formation of the universe. This was immediate graduate level geochem taught by a brilliant young Prof. fresh out of MIT named John Reid. First lecture I was hooked. Undergraduate was brutal trying to get the math, chemistry, and physics I shunned for literature and history in high school. Nonetheless, I was able to use the five college system in Amherst Massachusetts to the max and got 5 graduate courses under my belt from UMASS as well as getting my senior thesis into an AGU talk on sulfide/oxide equilibria in ultramafic xenoliths. Summers I mined pegmatites in Maine and had an internship one summer at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in NYC X-raying Ca-Pb tungstates and molybdates.
After graduating I got a NASA grant through the AMNH to do petrography and probe work on a select class of meteorites called mesosiderites. It was an exciting time because the lunar program was winding down after sucking out as much information as could be had out of the lunar samples, so support moved to meteorites. We called ourselves the department of comparative planetology to sound cool. Also, for about 5 months I was seconded to Mount Sinai Hospital where the latency period for asbestosis was defined. They had a new analytical SEM and needed some mineralogical assistance because asbestos is a morphological term and a number of minerals fit the bill.
Fun stuff, but I really wanted to study ore deposits and follow up the what I found as an undergraduate student. One sample from a clinopyroxenite dike in a xenolith from the mantle underneath Hawaii had an immiscible high MgO ilmenite melt that then precipitated an immiscible sulfide melt. Raining sulfides in the upper mantle was so cool. Experimental work by Tony Naldrett at University of Toronto nailed the solubility equations and I got interested in U of T which had a plethora of economic related geologists, not to mention J. Tuzo Wilson. I got three offers for full funding two of which were microprobe focused. Screw that, I took the field structural study of uraniferous pegmatites for the active Madawaska Mine in Bancroft Ontario. In addition, I had part of a summer doing exploration for tantalum in SE British Columbia and was party Chief one summer for RioCanex (Canadian exploration arm of Rio Tinto) in the Maritimes of Canada with projects in New Brunswick, Gaspee Penninsula and Newfoundland. Learned a lot and had a great time, then headed to London UK rationalizing that a lot of global exploration was financed out of there. I landed a research geologists job at BP Minerals for SEDEX deposits globally. Very interesting for a year but I could see that base metal prices were not too hot and they just opened an office in Singapore. I wrote to them and asked to work on some of the classic epithermal gold systems in SE Asia. They said show up in June (1984) and this was December. I gave appropriate notice and flew to India in early January and went overland from there. Two months in India with some time with the Kerala geological survey looking at chrysoberyl bearing pegmatites. Trekking around the back of the Annapurna massif in Nepal, then Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. At BP in Singapore after reviewing data throughout SE Asia I was sent into the middle of Kalimantan to work on the Sampit epithermal gold project. First pan in a stream was stunning with cinnabar and gold. Are we having fun now?
The contract was for only a few months so I headed back around the rest of the world including an underground tour at Mt. Isa., a transect of the Mine sequence at Broken Hill, and of course opals in Cooper Pedy.
Back in London in 1985 I got a job at Geosurvey International who just got bought out by a wealthy Egyptian group and got hold of all the mining concessions in Northern Tanzania. I worked on data compilation with ex-Tanganyika survey folk with a lot of stereo airphoto interpretation and Landsat MSS imagery. I was then chosen to be the guy to cruise around by myself in a custom Land Rover to review potential targets. My number one choice for followup after my review was Mara which became a Barrick Mine.
Back to London and decided to take another M.Sc. in Remote Sensing and GIS. I had been using this data and just decided far more could be done with it if the geo who knew the project tweaked the data rather than some data processing guy. That was a quick one year and then did a bunch of consulting including a grant from the European Space Agency to review geologic applications of radar throughout Europe. This was in preparation for the new European RADAR satellite being proposed ERS-1. I also consulted on gold concessions in Burundi Africa and got offered a job to be Exploration Manager. We moved to Burundi for two great years. I got to define the external zone of the Kibaran Orogeny and demonstrated that the gold was syn-kinematic to thrusting. The first Gulf war froze assets in the Gulf and financing was out of Qatar so time to move on. I had not worked in the States in a long time so cruised around talking to various groups in exploration and academics. I got hired by Boston College Department of Geology and Geophysics to work at their new main frame GIS center. I also got cross appointed at the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing. A couple of fun years and then got tapped on the shoulder about a position opening up for the new global target selection team at Homestake Mining immediately after the Corona merger. There were to be a group of 7 senior Geo’s managing global exploration as a team, 3 from Corona, and 3 from Homestake with me from outside. They realized they needed more international exploration experience and Hi-Tech.
My first GSN meeting was shortly after I arrived in Reno and not knowing anyone just sat at a table only to find out everyone was ex Homestake. Ohhhh boy, but everyone was great.
I worked at Homestake until just before the Barrick merger and got to work on many deposits globally. What a great education, but it was now a market bottom and I was concerned about making a living. I did a lot of ore deposits and remote sensing consulting keeping very busy despite the market. In about 2003 Ron Parratt asked if I wanted to start a company with him. This was the formation of AuEx and we took it public in 2005 with about 10 projects including purchasing Pittston Nevada in exchange for shares in our company. Pittston discovered gold in the Pequops and included the land package that had Long Canyon. We took our IPO money and drilled West Pequop and Long Canyon. Significantly, we reinterpreted the geology at Long Canyon to be structurally controlled instead of stratabound and drilled significant high grade oxide.
We sold the company in 2010 and made a spinout called Renaissance Gold. Currently I am a director and Technical Advisor to RenGold, director of MagnaTerra who purchased our Argentine assets, Chairman of TerraCore that does hyperspectral core scanning, and of course our beloved GSN.
Mexico 1981 University of Toronto Field trip.
Mid 90’s doing spectral analysis in Chile for Homestake.
February 2019 in Aruba with my GSN pack.
The island has historic gold mines and is cored by 80 Ma Cretaceous granites. You can’t escape the stuff.