Jack E. Thompson, Jr.
2006 Inductee into American Mining Hall of Fame
Jack E. Thompson, Jr. was born in Havana, Cuba, where his father worked in the chemical industry. He received his B.S. in Mining Engineering at the University of Arizona in 1971, and graduated in the Executive MBA Program at Stanford University. He has also twice attended the Director’s College given at the Stanford Law School. Following his graduation from university, he began his career with Newmont at the San Manuel mine. In the ten years he worked for Newmont, he held a variety of jobs with increasing responsibilities in copper and uranium mining operation. From 1981 – 1988 he was General Manager of McLaughlin mine, Homestake Mining Company. In this role, he led the team that permitted and built, in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the country, a mining operation that is widely recognized as setting the industry standard for environmental excellence. He continued that record at Prime Resources with his role in the development of the Eskay Creek mine in northern British Columbia. This model mine set a new standard in building a strong working relationship with the local aboriginal community.
In his twenty years with Homestake Mining Company and under his leadership, Homestake became a more aggressive and important player in the gold industry. He was involved in a variety of acquisitions, public offerings and financing activities, from both management and board perspectives. He was part of the management team at Homestake that expanded the company from a one gold mine operation to one that had 14 operations in five countries when it merged with Barrick Gold Corp. Once one of the world’s highest cost producers, the company brought its costs down to the lowest quartile of the industry in cash cost of production. This involved closure of high cost operations, manpower reductions, restructuring of operations, investment in existing operations, development of new discoveries, and the acquisition of lower cost mines. This work was done while improving the company’s safety and environmental record to the point that it was one of the best in the industry.
Thompson is currently serving on the boards of directors of Phelps Dodge Corp., Rinker Ltd., Tidewater Inc., and Century Aluminum Co. Some of the other boards he currently serves on are the advisory board of Capital Resource Fund III L.P, a venture capital fund that invests in development stage mining companies worldwide, the Industrial Advisory Council of the College of Engineering, and the Industry Leadership Board for the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering at the University of Arizona, and the Minerals Information Institute. In 2006, Thompson was awarded the “Alumnus of the Year Award” from the University of Arizona, College of Engineering. In 2002, SME awarded him a “Distinguished Member Award” and from the S.D. School of Mines in 2001 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Mining Management.