The Northern Miner 1998 “Mining Man of the Year” Hugo Dummett – by Vivian Danielson

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

BHP executive catalyst for Ekati mine

The unsung hero behind the opening of Canada’s first diamond mine is a modest gentleman who never hesitates to praise the accomplishments of his team and his partners. Yet Hugo Dummett, The Northern Miner’s Man of the Year for 1998, has the unusual distinction of being a catalyst for both the discovery and development of the Ekati diamond mine, which made Canadian mining history when it was officially opened on Oct. 14.

In the early days of the diamond discoveries at Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories, Dummett was the face of BHP Diamonds, the unit of Australian mining giant Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP-N) that today holds a 51% operating interest in Ekati. His faith in the project, in the people working on it, and in the science behind it never wavered, even when skeptics called the project a pipe dream, the people obsessed, and the science fanciful.

Born in Springs, Transvaal, South Africa, Dummett obtained his bachelor of science in 1964 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He worked as an exploration geologist for Anglo American and other large corporations before emigrating to Australia in 1970, where he joined a small exploration group and pursued post-graduate studies at the University of Queensland. In 1977, he came to the U.S. as a senior geologist for Superior Oil’s minerals division. He joined BHP in 1989 and rose through the ranks to his current post as president and group general manager, exploration.

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