Earl T. Stannard
2014 Inductee from Mining's Past
President, Kennecott Copper Co.
Earl Tappen Stannard became president of Kennecott Copper Co in 1940 and, under his leadership, Kennecott increased production at all its operations, becoming the world's largest copper producer.
Stannard graduated in 1905 with a degree in Mining Engineering from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University. Following graduate work studying ore-crushing machinery, he was named Milling Superintendent for the Federal Mining Co. (a subsidiary of Guggenheim) at Flat Rock, Missouri.
In 1910, he was transferred from Federal to Chile to troubleshoot the new mill under construction and testing at Braden Copper Co. In 1913, the Guggenheims next transferred him to the Kennecott copper mine in Alaska to enlarge the mill and improve its dated recovery system.
At Kennecott, Alaska, he invented an ammonia leaching process which increased the recovery of copper to over 95% through recovering the copper contained in the carbonate ores. He also improved the output from the concentrators so fluxing requirements of the smelters would be met and introduced flotation plants at the company’s Beatson mine. With the reorganization of Kennecott into a multi-national company, Stannard eventually replaced his mentor, CEO Stephen Birch.
On September 9, 1949, Stannard, now nearing retirement, boarded a flight along with his chosen successor and other Kennecott executives to visit the newly acquired titanium property in Quebec when a bomb detonated killing all aboard. The bomb was intentionally planted by a female passenger’s husband to collect on her insurance claim. The sudden loss of Stannard and other Kennecott management caused a severe setback in Kennecott's foundation resulting with tough replacement challenges.