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Vale David Lowell

We regret to inform members that J. David Lowell has passed away, at the age of 95.

Lowell received degrees in mining engineering from the University of Arizona in 1949, and geology from Stanford University in 1957. By 1959, he was specialising in porphyry copper exploration for Utah Construction and in 1961 became an independent consultant.

David was amongst the most successful minerals exploration geoscientists of the last 60 years, having participated in the discovery of at least 12 major ore bodies that have become major mines since, including Escondida (Chile), Toro Mocho (Peru), Pierina (Peru), and closer to home, the down-dip, faulted-off part of San Manuel/Kalamazoo in Arizona, applying the then evolving alteration zoning concept for drill targeting.

David Lowell at Escondida, Chile, 2004

Generous endowments by J. David Lowell helped establish professional programs in economic geology and mineral resources at the University of Arizona where the Lowell Professional Programs are designed to accommodate working professionals in the mineral resources industry. Their focus is on continuing education, non-thesis master’s degrees, practical and intensive field courses, and distance learning, both live and on-demand. Programs offer a mix of geology, engineering, business, and environmental coursework.

He was the key author in the Lowell & Guilbert 1970 paper on the alteration zoning surrounding porphyry copper deposits. This zoning is amongst the most critical tools in exploring for porphyry copper deposits and, once within the porphyry, to vector where to drill next. He was the author of more than 50 published articles.

Extremely successful as an entrepreneur, David always maintained very polite and very modest manners. He was a true gentleman. His very focused and unassuming thoughts of successful exploration are described in his easy to read book ‘ The Intrepid Explorer’.

We have lost an outstanding professional, a great colleague and mentor.

Lowell is survived by his wife, Edith, as well as his daughter and two sons.

Wolf Schuh and others

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