Frank William Archibald
2004 Inductee from Mining's Past
Frank Archibald dedicated most of his professional life to Southern Peru Copper Corporation. He began his career as a metallurgist with ASARCO in 1940. After serving in the Navy during WW II and returning to ASARCO, in 1957 he became the Superintendent of the Ilo smelter of the newly formed Southern Peru Copper Corporation. He was promoted to the position of General Manager and shortly thereafter, in 1960, he was promoted to President of Southern Peru Copper. In 1968, he was made President and CEO of Southern Peru and Vice President of ASARCO, a title he held until he retired in 1984.
Frank was not only present when Southern Peru began to operate the Toquepala mine, he also presided over the company’s growth to a major copper producer when the Cuajone unit came into production in 1976. He led the Company through its survival of some extremely difficult periods in Peru. The Cuajone agreement was negotiated during the democratically elected government of Fernando Belaunde. However, it was not until December 1969, during the military government of General Juan Velasco, that a final agreement with the government was reached and a contract was signed. The nationalistic actions of General Velasco created tremendous uncertainty for Southern Peru, making the financing of the Cuajone Project extremely difficult. Only after almost five years of negotiations led by Frank, was a contract signed and the financing put into place.
Frank’s intelligence and tenacity during the negotiations were just two factors that helped him to successfully conclude them. His reputation as a person who was very concerned for Peru and, above all, for all those working for Southern Peru, earned him the admiration of the government’s negotiators, especially the military. More than likely, the good relationships that he enjoyed with all governments certainly facilitated the opening of many doors and probably helped to avoid a military takeover during the Velasco regime. In 1976, the government of Peru awarded Frank the highest award that can be bestowed upon a civilian – “El Gran Comentario”. In 1986, the Copper Club in New York named him as the “Copper Man of the Year”.