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J. David Lowell

2002 Inductee into American Mining Hall of Fame

J. David Lowell, one of the world’s most successful exploration geologists, received a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1949 and an M.S. in Geology from Stanford University in 1957. He has also received a Professional Engineer degree from the University of Arizona in 1959 and honorary degrees from the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos in Peru in 1998 and the University of Arizona in 2000.

Dave Lowell began his career as a mining engineer and shift boss with ASARCO in Mexico, followed by a job as an exploration geologist with the Atomic Energy Commission in the Colorado Plateau. Following time at Stanford to fill out his geology background, he was back to uranium exploration in Utah for a subsidiary of Ventures Limited of Canada. The Ventures work evolved into the search for porphyry copper in Arizona, where his career-long interest in porphyry copper exploration was born. In 1959, he became district geologist specializing in porphyry copper for Utah Construction in San Francisco.

Lowell became an independent consultant in 1961. Between 1961 and 1990, he worked for 110 companies in 26 countries, largely in porphyry copper exploration. His efforts have contributed to the discoveries of the Kalamazoo and Vekol Hills deposits in Arizona in 1965, the Casa Grande West deposit in Arizona, the J A Orebody in Canada, and the Dizon and Far Southeast deposits in the Philippines in 1975, the La Escondida and Zaldivar-Escondida Norte mines in Chile in 1981, the San Cristobal mine in Chile in 1987, the Leonore deposit in Chile in 1990, and the eight million-ounce Pierina gold deposit in Peru in 1995.

He has published more than 50 articles, one of which he co-authored with John Guilbert that defines the Lowell-Guilbert porphyry copper model. This work has become a standard reference for exploration geologists world-wide. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999, has received the SME “Daniel C. Jackling Award” and “Robert Dreyer Award”, the AIME “Earl McConnell Award”, the SEG “Silver Medal” and the MMSA “Gold Medal”. He remains very active in the exploration for new deposits and is currently managing projects in Ecuador and Chile.


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