The 2004 Moore Medal Award
Awarded To: Richard H.T. Garnett
For distinction in the development of marine minerals.
Richard Garnett studied Mining Engineering 1954-7, Mineral Exploration 1957-8, and Economic Geology (Ph.D.) from 1958-1962. He gained a first class degree and prizes for engineering and research geology, and gained an MBA in the 1970s.
He led a group of student divers down to Cornwall in 1960, to map possible offshore extensions of the tin-bearing Cligga Granite and succeeded in finding the hole in the seabed at Levant Mine adjacent to Geevor Mine. As Consulting Geologist to Geevor until 1974, he followed the theory of tin lode formation propounded in his 1962 Ph.D. thesis and succeeded in finding, in the mid-1960’s, the longest, most productive, tin lode in the Land’s End Granite. The discovery rescued the ore-starved Geevor mine, allowing the company to continue operating for another 25 years.
In 1962, he worked in South Thailand where Tronoh Mines undertook offshore geophysical surveys and sampling of marine tin placers. He spent 6 years in Southeast Asia, becoming the youngest manager ever appointed to a large Malaysian alluvial mining company. He applied theories of crustal tilting and river capture to discover a previously unsuspected, payable, extension of the southern part of the famous Kinta Valley tin alluvials. After working as an exploration manager in Spain and a mining engineer in Quebec, Canada, in 1969 he became Manager and Director of Rio Tinto’s alluvial mining and exploration arm in Southeast Asia. He is now advising the company on the mining of the associated gold placers.
He was employed for 19 years by the Anglo-American/Minorco group – which now includes De Beers – involved in all worldwide exploration and deposit evaluation. Gold was the principal target but he worked on everything from asbestos to zinc. In North America his efforts to make the Nome offshore gold project an economic success were thwarted by the falling gold price, but in 1989 he pioneered the use of a crawler, as now used on Namibian marine diamond deposits, as the best mining system for some marine placer deposits. Using his experience of alluvial gold formation he led a team, which discovered the huge Donlin Creek gold deposit in Alaska – the largest, presently unworked, primary gold deposit in North America now being brought into production by Placer Dome.
Leaving the corporate fold, he formed his own Toronto-based consultancy company in 1991, specializing in placer deposits. As technical director of Diamond Fields Resources he insisted on following up some stream sediment anomalies in Labrador and directed the subsequent work which resulted in the discovery of the huge, rich, Voisey’s Bay deposit of nickel, copper and cobalt. It was sold to Inco for US$ 3.5 billion. Later, as Chairman, he ensured that Diamond Fields did not forget its first project, marine diamonds in Namibia, where the company eventually defined the extremely high grade Marshall Fork deposit, now being worked by a crawler.
Richard’s career has taken him to work in every continent, except Antarctica, since his graduation in 1957. He has at intervals always returned to his main interest, placer deposits, and especially how to evaluate and mine those in the marine environment.
The International Marine Minerals Society presents The Moore Medal award on occasion when the career of an eminent figure in marine mining and mineral activities warrants such an honor.