In memoriam

CIM is more than an organization – it is a community of people who share a common passion for the mining industry. We would like to extend our condolences to friends and family of the deceased as we remember those who have passed away. Though they are no longer with us, their work and accomplishments live on.

We do our best to publish all the names of recently deceased CIM members and apologize if there are any we have missed. Please send notices to


Garston Blackwell, a professor emeritus at Queen’s University, passed away on June 7, 2020. He was a CIM member since 1973 and part of the Man agement and Economics Society and the Underground Society. Blackwell, who was born in 1944, studied at the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines, and then earned his master of engineering degree from Queen’s. He spent most of his career at Brenda Mines Ltd., Noranda, in Peachland, British Columbia, becoming chief mine engineer. He joined the Queen’s faculty in 1986 as an associate professor of mining engineering. Blackwell won a prize in 1981 as co-author of the best Canadian paper on a rock mechanics subject from the International Society of Rock Mechanics. He was the recipient of the CIM Fellowship Award in 1995. He was also the recipient of the Metal Mining Division Award in 2005.


Johannes (Jan) Boon passed away on July 22, 2020. A geochemist who was born in 1940, Boon worked as a professor in Venezuela, as an oil and gas researcher for the Alberta Research Council, and as director of the Alberta Geological Survey. He also served as director general of the Geological Survey of Canada. Even after retiring, Boon worked to educate the industry, often making presentations about corporate social responsibility. He also worked with the International Association of Professional Geoethics (IAPG). A CIM member since 2010, Boon was part of the Environment and Social Responsibility Society.


Paul Bronsveld, a CIM Member since 2000, passed away in March. He was a member of the Canadian Mineral Processors Society and the Management and Economics Society.


Willem J. Bernelot Moens joined CIM in 1965. He became a life member in 1999 and was awarded Fifty Year Club in 2015.


Henry Cieszynski, a CIM Member since 1994 and a Life Member since 2017, passed away on August 13, 2020, at the age of 82.


Thomas (Tom) Devlin passed away on October 18, 2020. The 77-year-old accountant served as CFO of Canada Silver (which he joined in 2015) and Granada Gold (which he joined in 2009).


James (Jim) Eccott, the former president of DiaMet Minerals (during the time when the company discovered the Ekati mine) and a long-serving director of Canterra Minerals, passed away on March 6, 2020 in Kelowna, B.C. He was 87.


Kenneth Grace, a CIM Member since 1970 and a Life Member since 2004, has passed away. He was born on March 11, 1936. Grace, a professional engineer and a Fellow in the Society of Economic Geologists, worked throughout Canada, the U.S, Africa, and the Caribbean before becoming a co-founder of the Toronto-based mining consulting firm Micon International. Grace was a long-time supporter of the CIM Foundation and bequeathed a contribution to support education.


Martin E. Kavanagh, a CIM Member since 1972, passed away on November 5, 2020. Born in Yorkshire, U.K., Kavanagh earned an honours bachelor of science in geology from the University of London, and then found work with Inco of Canada. He was posted to its office in Western Australia. Kavanagh co-founded Dominion mining. He worked his entire career in Australia, his last position that of executive director of Chase Mining. He was 73. He was part of the Geological Society.


Ed Kimura, a CIM Branch Member since 1957, a CIM National Member since 1965 and a Life Member since 1996, passed away on March 5, 2020. Kimura spent his entire career working at Placer Dome, and where he held the title of Canadian exploration manager. In 2012, Kimura received the Gold Pan Award from the Association for Mineral Exploration BC, CIM’s District Distinguished Service Award in 1981, a CIM Fellowship in 1996 and the Barlow Memorial Medal. Kimura was a regular contributor to the CIM Foundation – so much so that a mineral card was named in his memory. It was his request that any donations in his name be made to the CIM Foundation. He was 87.


Dale Melnbardis passed away June 18, 2018. Melnbardis’ family immigrated to Canada from their home in Latvia after World War II. During the day, Melnbardis worked at the crusher at the East Sullivan mine in Val-d'Or, Quebec, and at night he worked at the Jenson Laboratory in Bourlamaque, a Val-d'Or neighbourhood. In 1973, he purchased the Jenson Laboratory and two years later the business evolved into the Laboratoire d’analyse Bourlamaque Ltée. (Bourlamaque Assay Laboratories Ltd.)


Willem (Wil) Moen passed away in Mississauga, Ontario, on May 1, 2020. Moen, born in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia), earned his engineering diploma in July 1954, subsequent to his repatriation back to the Netherlands after being interned in Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. After immigrating to Canada, Moen obtained a mining engineering degree from the University of Toronto. Over the course of his career, he worked in Quebec, Ontario, Salt Lake City and Ghana. Moen was the first Lifetime Member of the CIM GTA West Chapter, founded in 2011. Moen joined CIM in 1965, became a Life Member in 1999 and was awarded 50 Year Club status in 2015. He was 90.


Owen Owens passed away on October 7, 2018. Born on March 30, 1925, Owens grew up in Montreal and studied at McGill University, where he received his PhD in Geology. Owens, who became a CIM Member in 1955 and a Life Member in 1990, was awarded a CIM Fellowship in 1992 and the Selwyn G. Blaylock Medal in 1996.


John H. Parker passed away on February 9, 2020, in Sidney, B.C. Born on February 2, 1929, Parker graduated as an engineer from the University of Alberta in 1951. After initially working in Uranium City, Saskatchewan, he then took a job as a consulting engineer in Yellowknife. Parker founded Precambrian Mining Services Limited, piloting his bushplane to exploration camps and mine sites as part of his job. In 1965, Parker, who was mayor of Yellowknife at the time, joined the Carrothers Commission, which was created by the federal government to study and determine the future of government of the Northwest Territories. (The Commission’s findings led the way for naming Yellowknife as the capital city, and eventually splitting off Nunavut into its own jurisdiction, among other things.) Afterwards, Parker was appointed deputy commissioner of the Northwest Territories in 1968 and the commissioner in 1979. In 1986, Parker was made a Member of the Order of Canada. Parker joined CIM in 1952.


Leslie Price, of Hockessin, Delaware, USA, contracted COVID-19 in December 2020 and held his own for a time; but eventually the disease became too much and he died on December 30. A proud member of CIM and of the Geological Society, he joined in 1967 and became a Life member in 1999.  


Alan Plumtree passed away on November 5, 2020. Plumtree was a distinguished professor emeritus of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at the University of Waterloo. He earned a PhD in metallurgy from the University of Nottingham and after graduating he joined the faculty at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in the department of materials and metallurgical engineering. In 1965, Plumtree became part of the University of Waterloo’s department of mechanical engineering, and served the school in various roles, including as associate dean for graduate studies, and research senator, and member of the board of governors. His primary area of research involved mechanical properties of materials and their microstructure composition and heat treatment. As an author he produced over 200 technical documents and articles. He joined CIM in 2003 and his primary society was Metallurgy and Materials. Plumtree won the MetSoc Award for Research Excellence.


Florian Riedl-Riedenstein passed away in Vienna on July 7, 2020. He was the co-founder and former director of Asante Gold. Over a 30-year career, he served as a director and officer of a number of Canadian-listed companies, including Empire Gold Inc., where he was president and CEO. Riedl-Riedenstein specialized in bringing Canadian companies to the attention of European markets and investors. He also was involved in gold exploration in Ghana for more than 20 years.


Gerhard Ruhrmann has passed away. Ruhrmann served as project geologist and exploration manager for Uranerz Exploration and Mining between 1976 and 1981, where his duties included supervising field work in Quebec, in Saskatchewan and in Nunavut. In 1982, Ruhrmann began looking for high-grade uranium deposits as a member of Key Lake Mining Corp. He began performing hydrogeological and geotechnical work for Cameco in 1988, primarily assessing above-ground tailings facilities and contributing to the in-pit tailings disposal concept at the Deilmann open pit in Saskatchewan. As an author, he published a number of papers, including technical documents of the International Atomic Energy Agency and co-wrote a book on environmental mine management. Ruhrmann joined CIM in 1988 and became a Life Member in 2017.


Murray Seitz passed away in June 2020. Seitz was a director of Vancouver-based Far Resources Ltd. He originally joined the company’s board in 2018, and the company credits him for overseeing the growth of its technology business, and for forging relationships with partners in Canada, the U.S. and beyond.


Josephat Zvaipa, COO of Vancouver-based Galiano Gold, passed away in July 2020. He joined the company (which was then known as Asanko Gold) in 2014 and served as the managing director of Asanko Gold Ghana Limited from 2015 to mid-2019. In 2019, he moved to Johannesburg where he assumed the COO title.