Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.
Perseverance may not always find its reward, but for a mining man and explorationist that knows the North, the development of the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories is a rich reward for persevering for 30-odd years in the Arctic.
Grenville Thomas, our Mining Man of the Year, was the original driving force behind the Diavik project, now under development by Diavik Diamond Mines, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (RTP-N), and Aber Diamond (ABZ-T), the company Thomas founded. As an explorationist, entrepreneur, and a well-liked and well-respected mining man, Thomas is seeing a long career culminate in one of the biggest successes in recent Canadian mining history.
Welsh-born Thomas came to Canada in 1964 as a young mining engineer and worked for Falconbridge, first at its Sudbury operations and later at the Giant gold mine in Yellowknife. Setting up shop as a consultant, he became a specialist in mineral projects in the Northwest Territories and ultimately assembled a stable of his own properties.
Thomas incorporated Highwood Mines (later Highwood Resources) in 1975, and by 1979 it was a publicly traded junior, with three of Thomas’s Territories prospects — the Thor Lake rare-metals deposit, the Thye Lake copper-nickel deposit, and the Victory Lake massive sulphide property — as its principal assets.