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Arthur Stollery was a rare combination of prospector, mine finder and entrepreneur. He played a key role in finding two great orebodies, contributed to the development of both Denison Mines and Camflo Mines, and inspired others by his leadership, dedication and personal integrity.
Stollery came to industry prominence in the 1950s when he staked a property in Ontario’s Elliot Lake district, which proved to host a massive uranium orebody. He used both intuition and geological interpretation in locating these claims and spotting the initial two drill holes which led to the discovery of this world-class deposit.
Stollery earned a degree in mining engineering from Queen’s University, where he was a star athlete. After graduating in 1939, he worked at several mines before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. While in the Air Force, he was quarterback of the Hamilton Flying Wildcats which won the Grey Cup in 1943. He also had a distinguished flying career.
Stollery spent two years in British Columbia after the war, running a project in the Bridge River area and acting as mine superintendent at Polaris-Taku, before returning east as an independent technical consultant and prospector.
In 1953, based on his accumulated knowledge of the regional geology and its significance, he staked the ground that was to form the basis for Denison Mines. In 1954, he spotted the first hole on the property, which intersected uranium-bearing conglomerate and was the first evidence of the largest uranium deposit discovered to that date in the world. The discovery later made Denison Mines the largest producer of uranium in the world.
Stollery was an officer and director of Denison, and helped hire some of the key executives in its early days. He later acquired control of Consolidated Morrison, a former silver producer in the Gowganda area. Through Morrison, he acquired potash interests in Saskatchewan in 1959, which he explored and sold to Noranda Mines in 1964. The property will continue to be Noranda’s source of potash production well into the next century.
As Chairman of Camflo Mines, a predecessor to American Barrick Resources, Stollery was instrumental in assisting Camflo in becoming the lowest-cost-per-ton underground mining operation in Canada.
In the 1960s, Stollery and Wally Boyko decided to test a large anomaly in James Bay. The end result of their efforts was the discovery of 20 million tons of high-quality columbium, a resource yet to be developed.
Stollery’s accomplishments continued into the 1980s, when he converted Consolidated Morrison into Morrison Petroleum. Along with his son, Gordon, he managed the company which grew from an initial investment of $10 million to a market capitalization of $650 million. During this period, he also financed a successful and innovative geophysical surveying company, Aerodat.