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Robert Cathro

$37,910.00 (raised so far)

About Robert Cathro

Bob Cathro, the pioneering western Canadian mineral exploration geologist, mining industry leader, and amateur historian died at age 79 at his home in Chemainus, British Columbia on August 26, 2014.

Although raised in Winnipeg and Chilliwack, much of Bob’s identity was defined through his career in northwestern Canada. After graduation from UBC in Geological Engineering in 1959 he worked as a mine geologist at the Eldorado (Port Radium) uranium mine, NWT; Verna uranium mine, Saskatchewan; Giant Yellowknife gold mine, NWT, and United Keno Hill silver mine, Yukon.

In 1966 he and fellow Keno Hill mine geologist Al Archer struck out on their own, founding the consulting firm Archer, Cathro and Associates Ltd., specializing in Yukon mineral exploration. Bob was President of “AC” until his retirement in 1989, during which time the firm made several notable discoveries and significant advancements of important Yukon mineral deposits including Casino (copper-gold-molybdenum), Wolverine (zinc-silver-lead-copper-gold), Mactung (tungsten), and Williams Creek (Carmacks Copper). The company is still going strong after almost half a century, and has launched hundreds of summer students and “dirt-baggers” into careers as geologists, prospectors, engineers, mining executives, professors, and helicopter pilots.

Over his career, Bob received several awards including the A.O. Dufresne Exploration Achievement Award in 1991 from the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), for “outstanding contribution to mineral exploration in B.C. and Yukon, and for his commitment to the north”. In 1999 Bob and Al Archer were co-winners of the H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award for excellence in prospecting and mineral exploration, presented by the B.C and Yukon Chamber of Mines (now the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia or AMEBC). In 2003 he was presented with a Distinguished Service Award in 2003 by the Geological Association of Canada (GAC).

Known for his passion for giving back to the industry, Bob served as President (1982-1983), Past-President (1984-1985) and Vice-President (1978-81) of the BC and Yukon Chamber of Mines (now AMEBC). In 1984 Bob, along with Jack Patterson and Nick Carter, helped bring together the exploration industry and the federal and provincial geological surveys to establish the first Cordilleran Roundup conference. This convention is now recognized globally as one of the leading technical events for mineral exploration, attracting over 8000 delegates to Vancouver every January.

Over his career Bob participated as chair, co-chair or member on numerous committees and task forces providing advice on programs, policy and research activities on behalf of the Canadian Geoscience Council, the Geological Survey of Canada, several federal, provincial and territorial governments bodies, and other organizations such as Geoscience BC. . Bob was a critical member of the group that administered the “Rocks to Riches” geoscience grants through AMEBC, an effort that ultimately led to the formation of Geoscience BC.

A careful researcher and “data-miner” long before the advent of the information age, Bob played a leading role in the 1972 creation and ongoing expansion of Archer, Cathro’s Northern Cordillera Mineral Inventory, which was financed through annual subscription to resource companies. At the time it was the most comprehensive file on mineral exploration history and results in Canada and was sold to the Yukon Government in 1990, becoming the Yukon MINFILE database.

Bob was a prolific technical writer and editor, having authored numerous articles on subjects as diverse as Yukon tungsten deposits, the metallogeny of the Canadian Cordillera, supergene copper mineralization and sedex lead-zinc deposits. He served on the editorial boards of several notable compendiums of mineral deposit geology including both of the CIM Special Volumes (#15, 1976 and #46, 1995) on Porphyry Deposits of the Canadian Cordillera, and Mineral Deposits Division of the Geological Association of Canada Publication #2 (2000) on VMS Deposits of Latin America.

His passion for research and history flourished in retirement when he authored nearly 50 articles on the evolution of the science of economic geology (CIM Magazine) and edited a series on the Great Mining Camps of Canada (Geoscience Canada). He also contributed to several books including Bowen Island: Reflections, a pictorial history, and Into the Mountains, a history of the first 100 years of AMEBC.

Bob was a proud, independent person known for his honesty, integrity, community service and great sense of humour. He will be greatly missed as a husband, father, grandfather, friend and mentor.

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The impact of your support

Robert Cathro was a leader in mining exploration and the mining industry, and he was passionate about giving back to the industry he loved. He was committed to supporting students, and his company, Archer, Cathro and Associates Ltd, helped launched the careers of hundreds of aspiring geologists, prospectors, engineers, executives, professors and more.

In honour of his significant contributions to the industry, The Robert Cathro Fund for Geology will support the next generation of geologists and explorers. Funds will be used to support students and/or areas of need in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

List of Donors
All Donors
  • Pat Cathro and sons

  • Haywood Securities

  • Mo Kaufman

  • Maurice and Dorothy

  • Margo Livingston and Family

  • Kare and John Cathro

  • Rob and Joan Carne

  • George and Lynn Vooro

  • Andrejs Panteleyev

  • Paul Smith

  • Paul Smith

  • Paul Smith

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