Peter Bradshaw has served the mining industry with distinction for more than forty years as a mine-finder, company builder, an advocate of collaborative research and science and by working effectively with local and indigenous people. His early career with renowned Barringer Research gave him a global perspective on mineral exploration and the opportunity to develop and publish details of ground-breaking geochemical processes and exploration methods. In 1979, he joined Placer Development, a predecessor of Placer Dome, and helped advance several successful projects, most notably the discovery of the very high-grade zone VII at Porgera in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Bradshaw was also the driving force behind the formation of the very successful Minerals Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Among his other achievements Bradshaw brought expertise, integrity and energy to the junior sector, first with Orvana Minerals, which developed the Don Mario gold-silver-copper deposit in Bolivia. Later, as co-founder and president of First Point Minerals, he helped discover and identify the commercial importance of a new type of nickel deposit in BC and Yukon, in which nickel occurs as the nickel-iron alloy, awaruite.
Bradshaw earned a BSc (Geology) from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1962 and a PhD from Durham University in England (Economic Geology) in 1965.
During his subsequent ten years with Barringer Research Bradshaw helped prove the value of advanced geochemical exploration, in particular the use of selective extractions and soil profile sampling to improve interpretation and enhance the signal from buried deposits.
Bradshaw then joined Placer, where the greatest of many accomplishments involved the Porgera project which was about to be abandoned after a failed feasibility study. Convinced of the potential for a high-grade zone in the bulk-tonnage deposit, Bradshaw launched a low-cost exploration program that led to the discovery of Zone VII, a very rich and large “plum”. Porgera became a world-class mine that has produced more than 18 million ounces of gold with potential for significantly more.
The resilience and tenacity shown by Bradshaw at Porgera helped define his career. Still with Placer, at the Misima gold mine also in PNG he worked with the government to adopt a marine tailings disposal system rather than build a tailings dam on the small, rugged and seismically active island. He worked with local leaders to prevent a mass in-migration to the island and the resulting social disruptions, as part of his long-standing commitment to find ways to work effectively and collaboratively with local and indigenous people. In addition he oversaw aspects of the final feasibility study of the Kidston gold mine in Australia, and optioned both Granny Smith in Australia and Omai in Guyana, all of which became significant producers.
Bradshaw’s most enduring legacy is MDRU, the highly successful industry-UBC research collaboration which he co-founded in 1989. Today MDRU is recognized internationally as a centre of excellence in mineral deposits research and training, a fitting tribute to its far-sighted and tenacious first chairman, Peter Bradshaw.