During his 43 years with The Northern Miner, a weekly newspaper, Maurice Brown has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Canadian mining industry. His reporting on mineral discoveries, operating mines and the people who find, develop and operate them, has enhanced the industry’s reputation for openness and facilitated the free flow of information that has helped make it a world leader.
Brown was born in Port Arthur, Ont., (now Thunder Bay) on November 11, 1912. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. in mining engineering in 1938. During his final year, as president of the school’s mining and metallurgical society, he invited a writer from The Northern Miner to speak to students. The speaker aroused in Brown such a sense of excitement in the industry that he vowed to someday join the newspaper’s editorial staff.
After graduation, he went to work at the Little Long Lac gold mine near Geraldton, Ont., successively as engineer, chief engineer and shift boss. He became ventilation and safety engineer for the seven gold mines in the Geraldton-Beardmore area, then mine manager at the Maylac gold mine for two years.
In 1947, he accepted an offer to be mining instructor at the Lakehead Technical Institute in Thunder Bay. He was the first staff member on the school’s payroll and developed its original mining curriculum. The institute quickly grew, eventually becoming Lakehead University, for which he raised $500,000.
In 1949, he joined the editorial staff of The Northern Miner as an engineer-reporter and later became assistant editor. He was appointed editor in 1977, publisher in 1985 and was named publisher emeritus in 1987. He retired at the end of 1992.
During his years at the mining newspaper, he travelled to every significant mining camp and chronicled every major development in Canada, giving him a unique perspective on the Canadian mining industry that he shared with his readers.
Although his contribution to Canadian mining is difficult to measure, Brown has devoted his career to promoting its interests through the pages of the newspaper. His most recent initiative was to put forward the concept of The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame as a means of honoring those who have contributed so much to the Canadian way of life and of publicizing those accomplishments to the general public. Brown served as chairman of the Hall for its first four years and continues as a director.
A lifetime member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, he was a co-founder of its Lakehead Branch (now Thunder Bay Branch) and its first chairman. In 1988, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
He has demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievements as a journalist, vigorously channelling information from the mining community to the public. Himself an institution, Brown embodies and expresses the industry’s spirit.