The man credited with making mining company Falconbridge Ltd. a success in the 1980s has passed away. William “Bill” James died on September 4, at the age of 89.
James took the helm of Falconbridge at a time when the company was losing millions of dollars each week due to flagging metal prices. He cut jobs and corporate spending, eventually making the company an attractive target for a takeover for Noranda.
Ed Thompson, a board member with the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, remembers working with James for almost 50 years. “He was a very forthright, honest man,” Thompson recalled.
“He was partly deaf, so he spoke with a booming voice. You could hear him anywhere in the room and had a great sense of humour, so it was usually fun to be around Bill.” Although James’ methods at Falconbridge weren’t always popular, Thompson says he was a hardworking man.
“You’d call the office maybe 10 o’clock at night and he’s still be there. You’d get him and have a conversation and it would be half business and half jokes. He was a very interesting man.”
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