Farquharson, Graham

Degree conferred: Doctor of Science (D.Sc.)

to be Doctor of Science

Graham Farquharson has made his name as one of the leaders in mining engineering in Canada. Born in Timmins, Ont., and raised in Bathurst, N.B., Graham attended UNB for three years during which time he played varsity hockey. He then transferred to the University of Alberta to obtain a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering. After working in Uganda and Namibia, he returned to Canada and earned an MBA from Queen's University. In 1974 he co-founded Strathcona Mineral Services and 35 years later he serves as President, overseeing hundreds of assignments as far afield as Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Africa and Central and South America.

A key development in Strathcona's history was the Nanisivik zinc mine on Baffin Island, 700 km north of the Arctic Circle. This was Canada's first mine in the arctic and the challenges were daunting: bone-chilling temperatures, long dark nights, permafrost and sea ice. Nevertheless it operated successfully for 22 years, producing up to 800,000 tonnes per year as one of the lower-cost zinc mines in the world. The company worked to ensure the indigenous peoples benefitted from the project and in fact operated in three languages, English, French, and Inuktitut.

In 1995, Bre-X Minerals of Calgary announced the discovery of the single largest gold deposit in history at its operation in Busang, Indonesia. Strathcona Minerals conducted an audit and determined that it was in fact the single largest fraud in the history of mining. This added to the high regard in which Graham was already held and in the years since he has been frequently called upon as an expert witness in court cases involving mining industry standards and mine valuations. He was also chairman of an independent committee appointed by the Supreme Court of Ontario to oversee operations of the Page-Williams mine while the ownership was in dispute.

Graham received the J.C. Sproule Memorial Plaque for pioneering Arctic mining development in 1996. The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy also named him its Distinguished Lecturer in 1998 and in the same year gave him the Robert Elver Mineral Economics Award. The culmination of this distinguished record was Graham's induction into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2010. He was then immediately asked to serve on the Board’s selection committee.

Graham is a generous philanthropist. He has supported UNB athletics and the Chair in Economic Geology in the department of geology. He volunteers as chairman of the Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation, which is supported in part by a substantial donation from Strathcona Minerals. He has given millions of dollars for kidney cancer research, including chairs at the University of Toronto, the Princess Margaret Hospital, and Sunnybrook Hospital, the latter in honour of his wife Anna-Liisa.

As an engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and loyal alumnus, Graham is a worthy example for current and future UNB students and we are very pleased to honour him today.

by Gordon Mason, University Orator

From: Honoris Causa - UA Case 70, Box 4

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