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Ben Ainsworth passes away at 76

April 27, 2017

A geologist of considerable accomplishment and reputation, Benjamin “Ben” Ainsworth passed away peacefully on April 25 at the age of 76. Among other positions held during his career, he was founding director of ALX Uranium, where he inspired the following tribute:

“We at ALX, and our industry as a whole, have lost a giant in Ben Ainsworth,” said Warren Stanyer, chairman of ALX. “Ben was first a gentleman and second an explorationist who always believed a new discovery was just around the corner. His intelligence, imagination, perseverance and above all his regard for others will be sorely missed.”

Ben Ainsworth passes away at 76

Garrett and Ben Ainsworth at
their Patterson Lake South discovery.

Ben earned an honours degree in geology at the University of Oxford in 1962 and was soon inducted into a successful career as an exploration geologist, gaining his early experience in Ireland and Ghana. He joined Placer Development in 1965 and worked there for 21 years, holding assignments throughout Canada and later in Chile. From 1968 to 1978, his principal area of work related to the research and application of geochemistry for mineral exploration. Ben carried out extensive exploration work in British Columbia and the Yukon, which led to the 1972 discovery of the world class Howard’s Pass lead-zinc deposit. He received considerable recognition for that discovery and was later appointed exploration manager for Placer.

In 1986, Ben and David Jenkins formed the consulting firm of Ainsworth-Jenkins Holdings. The first years of the practice focused on gold and silver in Nevada and northern tier states in Mexico, drawing on experience gained from working on similar projects for Placer. Ainsworth-Jenkins was involved with the reactivation of the Huckleberry porphyry copper-gold project financed by New Canamin Resources in the period 1992 to 1994, which was placed into production in 1997. The Ainsworth-Jenkins team was also responsible for the concept, design and implementation of a 1995 exploration program that lead to the discovery of the first reported marine alluvial diamonds in the territorial waters of Sierra Leone.

Ben’s career contained many milestones in both mineral discoveries and in public service, where he acted for provincial and federal governments in mineral project assessments. He also served on many committees liaising between our industry and government agencies to promote the sustainable growth of mineral exploration and development in Canada.

Most recently, Ben and his son Garrett Ainsworth were jointly awarded the 2013 Colin Spence Award by the Association for Mineral Exploration for their role in the discovery of the Patterson Lake South uranium deposit (now the Triple R deposit) located in the Athabasca Basin. That discovery was yet another hallmark of the quality of work Ben contributed throughout his career in his quest to find world class mineral deposits.

Many will follow in his footsteps but few will fill his shoes.

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