Treat for LME students: Fireside chat with alumnus Ross Lawrence 

Exclusive event for Lassonde Mineral Engineering students:
Fireside chat with Ross Lawrence (GeoE 5T6), recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

A photo of the attendees from the Ross Lawrence (GeoE 5T6) Fireside Chat on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 on the fourth floor of the Lassonde Mining Building at the University of Toronto. The event with special alumnus guest speaker, a recent inductee into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame (CMHF), was hosted by the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering for largely undergraduate Lassonde Mineral Engineering Students. (Photo by Phill Snel, CivMin)

The Department had the pleasure of holding a unique event with alumnus Ross Lawrence (GeoE 5T6), who was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Prof. John Harrison (L) gestures to Ross Lawrence during the Fireside Chat event on Wednesday, January 17, 2024. (Photo by Phill Snel, CivMin)

He graciously agreed to share his career and life experiences with us during an intimate “fireside chat” on Wednesday, January 17. This exclusive event for our Min students, supported by Engineering Advancement, included a light fare reception following the talk.

After a welcome from CivMin Chair Professor Marianne Hatzopoulou, along with insightful perspective on the impact of mining on Indigenous communities at home and abroad, the talk was moderated by Professor John Harrison.

Lawrence’s career, spanning decades, included consulting on mining projects around the world. As a founding partner of Watts, Griffis, and McOuat Limited (WGM) in 1962, his career saw work in more than 100 countries, and established offices in Australia, England, Alaska, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, and Indonesia.

Of his notable technical contributions, was the introduction of a method for diamond drilling 12-inch diameter core. It allowed for bulk sampling, which had previously not been possible.

Lawrence and his fellow classmates led a fundraising campaign to establish the Class of 5T6 Engineering Award of Merit, for outstanding engineering students at U of T. He also championed Mining Matters, devoted to educating students and the public about the impact of the mining industry for Canada.

As a historical frame of reference, Lawrence emphasized how the little town of Cobalt, Ont. led the way to make it possible for Canada to take the world stage in mining. The hard rock mine saw the Cobalt Silver rush begin in 1903, when huge veins of silver were discovered, eventually leading to the Cobalt area mines producing some 460 million ounces of silver. It was this influx of capital which directly led to the funding of so many of the major Canadian mining projects which followed. Lawrence also provided attendees with the bonus of signed copies of his book, Have Bag, Will Travel.