National Mining Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2020

LEADVILLE, Colo.--()--2020 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees – The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) is pleased to announce five new members have been elected to the National Mining Hall of Fame. Selected by the National Mining Hall of Fame's Board of Governors from a pool of outstanding nominations, this year's inductees were chosen for groundbreaking work in biohydrometallurgy, economic geology, mine development, social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, as well as unparalleled skill in creating shareholder value.

The 2020 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award, named for renowned mining artist Gary Prazen, will be presented as well. This award recognizes an individual or organization for significant and sustained commitment to educating the public about the relationship of mining to our everyday lives through educational materials, innovative programming, and outreach.

The 33rd Annual National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held October 24, 2020, in Denver, CO, at the Marriott Denver South at Park Meadows.

2020 National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees:

Alberto Benavides: A Peruvian national and graduate of the National Engineering University (1941) and Harvard University (Geology, 1944), Benavides began his mining career at the U.S.-owned Cerro de Pasco Corporation. He worked as the resident geologist in Cerro de Pasco and became the company's first exploration chief. He was involved with the discovery, evaluation, and early development of the Antamina, Las Bambas, Toquepala, and Cuajone projects. Benavides was successful in bringing U.S companies Newmont, Phelps Dodge, and ASARCO together in a joint venture to develop the Toquepala and Cuajone deposits. In 1953, Benavides founded Compania de Minas Buenaventura, a Peruvian company publicly traded in Lima and on the New York Stock Exchange. He was instrumental in the discovery of the Conga, Tambomayo, Trapiche, and Chucapaca mineral deposits and the development of La Zanja, Tantahhuatay, Orcopampa, Uchucchacua, Shila, Mallay, and Anapite mines. Despite terrorist activity at the time, he forged a joint venture between Buenaventura and Newmont to develop the Yanacocha Mine. With a passion for social advancement and sustainability, he insisted all partners in mine development help improve living conditions of the locals and access to services by improving or constructing roads, schools, health clinics, and providing clean drinking water and sanitation in the communities near the mines. Benavides supported advanced educational opportunities to promote job skills beyond the life of the mine. Yanacocha became not only one of the largest gold producers in the world but a global model for social responsibility - sustainable development and wellbeing for all - which is now replicated by U.S. mining companies at many other sites around the world. Benavides received the Penrose Gold Medal (Society of Economic Geologists), the Gold Medal of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement (Mining and Metallurgical Society of America), and a Lifetime Achievement Award (Harvard University). He was inducted into the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame and received the Order of the Sun, Peru's most distinguished honor.

Dr. Roshan B. Bhappu: Globally recognized as a leading authority in extractive metallurgy, Bhappu was a visionary pioneer in biohydrometallurgy. He published over 100 technical papers and co-authored several books on mineral processing, metallurgy, and environmental remediation, and was granted several patents in bacterial leaching of sulfide ores and the recovery of metal values through in-situ extraction. While head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Bhappu received numerous research grants from the U.S. Bureau of Mines to further his cutting-edge research in biological oxidation of sulfide minerals. At his research lab, Mountain States R&D International, he built a reputation for developing efficient and optimized metallurgical flowsheets while advancing energy conservation and new mineral processing technologies. This combination significantly reduced capital and operating costs without compromising the metallurgical process and led to a world-renowned standing as an innovator in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy. He was an expert advisor to the minerals industry and international agencies such as the World Bank and the United Nations. Bhappu was the first Asian President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). He was the recipient of numerous awards, including Colorado School of Mines van Diest Gold Medal for outstanding achievement, AIME Robert Richards Award for distinction in metallurgy, and the Mining & Metallurgical Society of America's (MMSA) Gold Medal Award for his dedicated efforts in mineral research and to the mining industry overall.

Hugh W. Evans: As a young man of 19, Evans first served his country as a member of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army during World War II. This specialized mountain warfare unit trained at Camp Hale, CO, and claimed victories over German troops crucial to Italy’s liberation during World War II. After the war, Evans attended the Colorado School of Mines earning an Engineer of Mines degree and joined the Army Reserves. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. After serving his country, Evans built a 36-year career from grassroots exploration to large-scale mining operations that have become some of the world’s largest producers. Highlights include the discovery of a substantial uranium deposit on the Colorado plateau for Union Pacific, leading their stock price to increase a hundred-fold; for Utah International, Evans demonstrated the presence of enough coal near Farmington, NM, to justify building the Navajo Mine, Arizona Public Service Power Plant, and the Navajo Dam on the San Juan River; in Queensland, Australia, he led the development of the Blackwater Mine, one of the largest coal reserves in the world, and the town of Blackwater that grew from a rail stop to a community of 8000, launching Australia into the worldwide coal market; as Vice President of Coal Operations for the Atlantic Richfield Company, he was responsible for the design and development of Wyoming's Black Thunder Mine as well as the planning and construction of the town of Wright, WY; and, as Enoxy Coal President and CEO, Evans oversaw four joint venture mines with Island Creek Coal Company and Italian company, Italsider. Throughout his career, Evans was a builder of international relations and of wealth for nations by constructively working with people, money, and machinery to provide something that mankind needed. His leadership and engineering skills, along with a drive and excitement for his work, led to some of the largest coal mines in the world, yet he understood that no operation is about one person. He valued team effort and held a steadfast commitment to the people that worked for him. Evans served on the Colorado School of Mines Board of Directors and as Chair of its Research Institute. Committed to higher education, he and his wife, Ann, funded the Hugh W & Ann G Evans Endowment For Mining Engineering and the 10th Mountain Division scholarship.

Raymond W. Threlkeld: A geologist with over 40 years of extensive experience in mineral exploration, mine operations and construction, acquisition and senior executive management, Threlkeld is a discoverer and developer of world-class deposits and a creator of shareholder value. He is credited as co-discoverer of the Bear Track gold deposit in Idaho and with the redirection of the Silver Bears exploration program, leading to the development of Russia’s Mangaziesky silver district. Threlkeld's technical expertise leading teams through exploration, reserve estimates, feasibility studies, and construction and operations led to successful gold mines in Australia - Cowal Gold Mine; Argentina - Veledaro; Peru - Lagunas Norte (Alto Chicama) and Pierina; and, Bulyanhulu in Tanzania. At Pierina and Bulyanhulu, he was instrumental in introducing cutting-edge social development and sustainability initiatives, improving family health and local business. At Pierina his team developed the deposit in record time. The Pierina Mine produced over 8 million ounces of gold in a 20-year period and launched Barrick Gold to the top of the South American mining industry. In senior executive positions with Barrick Gold, Western Goldfields, Newmarket Gold, Inc., and Rainy River Resources among others, Threlkeld has been involved in the acquisition of more than $1 billion in assets, managed an estimated $1.4 billion in construction spending and created billions in shareholder value. As President and CEO of Western Goldfields, he commissioned the Mesquite Gold Mine in California on time and budget, resulting in the company's market capitalization increasing from $12 million to more than $300 million. While CEO of Rainy River Resources, he led the team that completed permitting and feasibility studies, increasing gold resources to over 6 million ounces. Rainy River was sold to New Gold, Inc. As Chairman of Newmarket Gold, Inc., his team sold the company for more than $1 billion in 2016. The sale of Newmarket Gold created over $4 billion in value for the Newmarket shareholders from an initial acquisition cost of $25 million. Threlkeld's skill and success in so many facets of the business have made him one of the most accomplished professionals in the precious metals industry today.

Dr. Spencer R Titley: After serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Titley earned his doctorate in geology from the University of Arizona (UA). After two years as Regional Exploration Geologist for New Jersey Zinc Company, he joined the UA faculty in 1960 rising through the ranks to Distinguished Professor of Geosciences. His research in the search for the origin of porphyry copper deposits took him to more than 30 countries. It led him to investigate all scales of copper deposits, from entire deposits down to the level of atoms. Considered a world authority on Phanerozoic porphyry copper deposits, metal provinces, and metallogenesis, the books he wrote and edited along with the scholarly articles he published on porphyry copper deposits of southwestern North America are still widely read today. In 1964, Titley was selected by the U.S. Geological Survey to map the moon by telescope. Before humans landed on the moon, Titley trained NASA Apollo astronauts Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, Ed White, and Thomas Stafford in the geology they would need to explore the moon. Widely recognized for his groundbreaking work in the fields of economic geology, engineering, and science, Titley's list of awards is lengthy. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, received the D.C. Jackling Award from the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), and from the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) he was awarded the Penrose Gold Medal and honored as a Thayer Lindsley Distinguished Lecturer. For excellence in teaching, he received the Career Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the Creative Teaching Award from the University of Arizona, College of Science, among many other awards. Titley's 56 years of continuous teaching and research have left an enduring legacy of educating students so that they, too, have become leaders in their fields.

2020 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award

During this time in history, when our dependence upon products created from mined minerals is accelerating, it is amazing just how little the general population knows about the critical role mining plays in their daily lives. Most consumers do not understand the primary source of the raw materials that create the basic necessities of life. Food production as well as energy ("green" energy too), electronics, transportation, personal care items, and all other material goods we have come to depend on and want, begin with mining. The Minerals Education Coalition (MEC), a committee of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Foundation, has been working to address this lack of understanding and to increase global awareness of the importance of mining in our everyday lives.

MEC is an education and outreach program for K-12 students, teachers, and the general public. The organization develops and delivers accurate and timely K-12 education materials, activities, and public awareness outreach about mining and minerals. MEC seeks to educate the public about modern mining practices, which enhance worker safety, workplace diversity, and embrace environmental and social responsibility as part of daily business.

MEC's innovative Move Mining and Move Mining Next Gen competitions seek to change misperceptions about the mining industry by engaging contestants in a real-life exercise, initially in the form of a short video presentation. Move Mining's participants are charged with using technology and creativity to develop a three-minute video presenting their concept to positively "move" the public's perception of mining. Submissions have addressed how mining is necessary for our economy, energy, environment, national security, infrastructure, innovations, technology, and safety. Competing teams submit their video along with a one-page abstract. A consortium selects four finalists, and one finalist is chosen by "People's Choice." These five finalists present before a live panel of judges, "Shark Tank" style, at the SME Annual Conference & Expo. The contest winner is picked before a live audience and receives a cash prize of $5,000. Cash prizes are also awarded for second and third place.

Move Mining Next Gen, for K-12 students, challenges teams to create videos that educate audiences on how mining is important to our daily lives. Some students use the knowledge gained from individual research in classroom education teams to create their three-minute videos, some work with families and friends at home. The videos are presented online and voted on by a panel of expert volunteers for several categories, as well as by the general public for the People's Choice Award. The Best Overall Video receives a cash prize of $1,000. Grade level-specific prizes are awarded as well.

The videos have not only educated the participants and the general public but have inspired new ideas for spreading the word about the necessity of mining. The first Move Mining competition spurred the development of a children's book series. Ryan and Jules Miles had an idea to pique children's curiosity about mining, engineering, and environmental stewardship through mystery and adventure. They submitted their idea for a children’s book titled The Mineral Maniacs and the Magic Hardhat which helped them secure assistance and funding to publish it. Since its exposure at Move Mining, the novel has been translated into Spanish and a teacher’s guide to accompany the first story in the series has also been published. Currently, the Miles' are working on a board game, Mine Dash, which was selected as a finalist in the 2019 competition.

Other winners throughout the past four seasons include Team Wonder Mine from Ecuador who proposed developing an app to show the ore mineral sources of everyday objects; Team Mine to Me from Canada, who focused on videos for outreach and education; Team Teaching Kids from Colombia, who worked to reach out to students to teach them at an early age about the importance of mining in everyday lives; and Team Atwood from the US who won with their concept of how to use game-based learning to reach young people and teach them how mining impacts their lives.

These competitions encourage thought about mining, not only for the participants and members of the live audiences, but also reach an extended international audience through the voting component. Participants’ use social media to gain votes for their videos. Additional viewers are brought in through MEC's use of Facebook Live to stream the competitions and by leveraging SME's social media channels to continue outreach after the contest has ended. As these two competitions continue to grow and inspire new ideas for educating the public about the necessity of mining, the potential for changing the perception of mining is exponential.

David Brown, president of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, stated, "We are pleased to honor those selected for induction this year into the National Mining Hall of Fame. Their contributions to the mining industry are immense. This year’s honorees are educators, inventors, geoscientists and astrogeologists and each has established prominence in the discovery and mining of metals and industrial minerals around the globe and beyond. In their own unique way, each has brought a significant contribution to our great industry. We are also delighted to honor The Minerals Education Coalition with the Prazen Award recognizing their outstanding efforts in providing education materials to our schools and promoting public understanding of the critical importance that mining of raw materials has in everyone’s lives and wellbeing. Please join us on October 24, 2020, to honor these individuals that have advanced the industry passion and dedication to their work.”

Since 1987, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Leadville, CO, has been our nation's monument to the men and women who champion the discovery, development, and processing of our nation's natural resources, as well as a national institution educating the public about the undeniable relationship of mining to our daily lives. For event details, tickets or sponsorship opportunities visit or reach out to Amber Johnson, Events Manager, at or (719) 486-1229.


Amber Johnson, Events Manager
(719) 486-1229

Release Summary

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) is pleased to announce five new members have been elected to the National Mining Hall of Fame.


Amber Johnson, Events Manager
(719) 486-1229