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Malcolm Hooper (1941 – 2023)

Mining engineer who was responsible for the development and building of two mines in his lifetime.

Malcolm HooperMalcolm Hooper died at the age of 81, at home in Cornwall overlooking Anna Maria Creek, on 23 January 2023. He was the beloved husband of Moira Hooper (deceased), father to Dean, Cate and Simmy, grandfather to five grandchildren, and great friend and colleague to many across the globe.

A well-renowned mining consultant by the time he retired, Malcolm’s career began in 1963 as a field geologist in Mbarara, Uganda. Malcolm had previously studied geology at the University of Leicester and later achieved an MSc in Mining Engineering at Camborne School of Mines. His vast knowledge and skills base included the design of exploration programmes, feasibility studies, and mineral economics. Always immersing himself in the countries in which he worked, he was fluent in French, German, Swahili, Arabic, and Russian.

Left: Malcolm Hooper. Photo courtesy of Cate Holliday.

Travels and adventures

In 1966, Malcolm moved from Uganda to Campbell Chibougamau Mines Ltd, Quebec, Canada. As mine geologist and superintendent, he managed production and health and safety for two mines. In 1969, he travelled to British Columbia to work as project engineer at Anaconda Britannia Mines Ltd.

In 1970, Malcolm and his family returned to the UK, settling beside the Helford River, Cornwall. Malcolm became chief geologist, mine superintendent, and assistant manager for International Mine Services and Cornwall Tin Mining at Mount Wellington Mine. After seven years in the UK and the collapse of tin prices, he set his sights on working abroad again. As the executive director and general manager, he worked alongside his great friend and colleague, Peter Tress, developing the gold mine Mahd adh Dhab for Consolidated Goldfields, Saudi Arabia.

Remarkable feat

Malcolm embarked on his role as a mining consultant in 1984 as the founder and managing director of Mine Exploration & Development Co Ltd, becoming an independent mining consultant in 2004 until his retirement in 2015. Malcolm worked with a team of experts, along with his good friends and colleagues, Nick Clarke and Dave Chilcott. Their work took them from North America to Central and East Asia, with clients including Wardell Armstrong International, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and CSM Associates. At Malcolm’s funeral, Nick acknowledged that Malcolm achieved a remarkable feat for any mining engineer: being responsible for the development and building of two mines in his lifetime.

Mentor to many

Malcolm was a mentor to many and, as a trustee of the Camborne School of Mines, he supported the next generation of geologists. Whilst Malcolm was a rigorous “man of science" and never saw himself as religious in the sense of a conventional doctrine, he wanted to be remembered as a Christian man in its broadest sense.

Malcolm enjoyed 57 years of happy marriage to Moira and was deeply grieved by her death in 2017. In the last 3 years of his life, he found renewed happiness with his partner, Rebecca Rainbow. Sadly in 2020 he was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer, but lived as full a life as he could for over two years with the support of his partner, family, and friends.

By Cate Holliday