Sir James Foots
Born in Jamieson Victoria in 1916, Sir James won a scholarship to Melbourne University and graduated in mining engineering in 1937. Commencing his profession at the North Mine at Broken Hill, during World War II he worked on underground construction in Darwin and then moved to the Lake George Captain’s Flat as Assistant Mine Superintendent. He returned to Broken Hill in 1946 as Assistant Underground Manager with Zinc Corporation and advanced to become Assistant General Manager of Mount Isa Mines Ltd (MIM) in 1955.
For 30 years he played a central role in the expansion of the MIM group’s silver-lead and copper production. He also led the group into a period of product and geographic diversification with widespread international mining, processing, marketing, trading interests and investments.
Appointed a director in 1956, in 1966 Sir James took the position of Managing Director and subsequently, when MIM holdings was formed in 1970, he was appointed Chairman CEO. He held these positions until well into the 1980s and only retired as Director and Deputy Chairman in 1987. Besides these, James held position on the Boards of a number of major mining Australian companies.
Sir James has been a very active member of the professional bodies of the mining industry and has presided over both the Australian Minerals Industry Council and AusIMM. This service has extended to the international sphere where, for instance, Sir James served as a Councillor of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (London) over a number of years.
Sir James has received many awards from his peers for his work in the mining industry, including the AusIMM Institute Medal in 1972 and, in 1985, honorary membership of the Institute. Besides being made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (London) in 1977, the Institute also awarded Sir James its Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the international minerals industry in 1987.
The University of Queensland conferred upon Sir James the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering in 1982.
He was knighted in 1975 in recognition of his services to the mining industry.
Sir James has made an outstanding contribution to broader community life, in particular through his long-standing commitment to the work of Rotary International, the Salvation Army and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust for Young Australians.
Sir James Foots died in Brisbane on 21 August 2010.