Malcolm Hooper, 1941 - 2023

Malcolm Hooper headshot
  • Fellow of Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Fellow of Geological Society
  • Master of Camborne School of Mines
  • Chartered Engineer
  • Trustee of Camborne School of Mines.

Malcolm Hooper (‘Malc’ to many of his friends) died at the age of 81, as he wished at his home in Cornwall overlooking Anna Maria Creek, on Monday 23 January 2023. He was the much beloved husband of Moira Hooper (deceased), father to Dean, Cate and Simmy, and grandfather to five grandchildren, as well as a 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 Leicester University and later achieved a MSc in Mining Engineering at Camborne School of Mines. He continued to develop his vast knowledge and skills base throughout his career, which included the design of exploration programmes; preliminary and definitive feasibility studies; competent persons reports, financial evaluation and budgetary control systems; and mineral economics. He was also fluent in French, German, Swahili, Arabic and Russian, always keen to immerse himself with the people, culture and landscape of the countries in which he found himself working.

In the early stages of his career he took his young family with him, moving from Uganda to Campbell Chibougamau Mines Ltd in Quebec, Canada in 1966. As Mine Geologist and Superintendent, he was responsible for all aspects of production management and Health and Safety for two mines. In 1969 he travelled across Canada to work as Project Engineer at Anaconda Britannia Mines Ltd, British Columbia.

It was while in Canada that Malcolm developed his great love and passion for both skiing and fishing. As with the many activities he pursued, he drove himself to excel. In his later years as a proficient and qualified skier, he led ski tours for the Ski Club of Great Britain in both Canada and Europe, heli-skiing a fresh field of powder at Whistler being one of his all time ‘highs’. He sought peace and relaxation on the water, whether it was trout-fishing a chalk stream in Hampshire, sailing his boat on the Helford or helming a yacht through Haida Gwaii off British Columbia’s North Coast.

It was in 1970 that Malcolm and his family returned to the UK and settled on the banks of the Helford river in Cornwall. A glorious part of the world, where he made his home at An-gwel, a place that was to become his sanctuary. He was renowned for his all-embracing welcomes and hospitality. His ‘locally famous’ croquet lawn was perfect for family weddings and many a sundowner was enjoyed on the terrace, a stone's throw from the Budock Vean Golf Club, where he became Captain.

Malcolm’s return to Cornwall was to take up the position of Chief Geologist, Mine Superintendent and Assistant Manager for International Mine Services/Cornwall Tin Mining at Mount Wellington Mine. After seven years working in the U.K. and the collapse of tin prices, he set his sights on working abroad again. As the Executive Director/General Manager, he worked alongside his great friend and colleague Peter Tress, developing the gold mine Mahd adh Dhab for Consolidated Goldfields in Saudi Arabia. He had full responsibility for all technical, financial and administrative operations, working with the Saudi Government to Ministerial level.

Malcolm embarked on his role as a Mining Consultant in 1984 as the Founder and Managing Director of Mine Exploration and Development Co Ltd, and subsequently an independent Mining Consultant in 2004 until his retirement in 2015. This saw him working extensively across the world with a team of experts that he convened, along with his good friends and colleagues, Nick Clarke and Dave Chilcott. Their work took them from Mexico, to Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea and China. Working with clients that included: Wardell Armstrong International, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and CSM Associates. Nick shared extraordinary tales of their travels and adventures in his tribute at Malcolm’s funeral service and acknowledged that Malcolm achieved a remarkable feat for any Mining Engineer: being responsible for the development and building of two mines in his lifetime. He was a mentor to many and through his work as a Trustee of the Camborne School of Mines he passionately supported and helped the next generation of geologists and mining engineers.

Malcolm was a man of great stature, intellect and character, whose boundless energy and drive touched many lives, locally and across the globe. He always approached life at full tilt, leaving nothing undone. Whilst he was a rigorous and robust ‘man of science’, he also wanted it to be known that he had a faith and belief in life beyond the realms of this earth. He believed that his mind or consciousness would transcend his body and in time form part of a greater ‘whole’, although he was unsure exactly what or how that would be. Although he 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. He had considered and learnt from many of the great faiths of the world and chosen his own path between: myth, dogma and the religious guidance in the Bible. 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 managed to live as full a life as he could for over two years with the support of his partner, family, and friends.

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