Julius Kruttschnitt was born 7 May 1885 in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.
Graduating in mining from Yale in 1906, he became mine surveyor with Arizona Copper Company. In 1909 he joined the mining department of the American Smelting & Refining Company (ASARCO), spending three years managing the company’s lead and silver mines in Mexico before heading up the newly-opened Tucson branch. Here he remained for the next 18 years, being responsible for mining acquisitions including the Silver Bell operation and for mining developments at many sites. By the mid-1920s his responsibilities included ASARCO’s operations in the US south-west and all its western Mexico sites.
In July 1930 ASARCO acquired substantial equity in Mount Isa Mines Limited (MIM). The company’s fledgling lead mine at Mount Isa in Queensland was facing serious technical problems, and in September 1930 Julius accepted the appointment as General Manager. He applied himself vigorously to addressing the significant metallurgical and mining problems of the operation, as well as the social and logistical problems typical of such a remote community. The mine finally rose to profit by 1937 and under his leadership grew over the next 15 years to become one of the world’s great silver-lead-copper mining and processing operations.
In 1931 Julius was appointed a director of MIM and chairman in 1937. He retired as chairman in 1953 but stayed on the board until 1967. During his twenty-two years at Mount Isa he held other directorships including with Big Bell Mines Ltd, Anglo-Westralian Mining Pty Ltd, the Mining Trust Ltd and New Guinea Goldfields Ltd.
For fourteen years he was foundation president of the Queensland Chamber of Mines and president of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1939 and 1952. He was awarded the Institute Medal in 1946 in recognition of his outstanding services to the industry.
In 1962 the English Institute of Mining and Metallurgy awarded him its gold medal. He was also a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. From 1953-60 Julius was a member of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission’s advisory committee on uranium mining.
He was a board member of the faculty of engineering at the University of Queensland in 1954-62 and was granted an honorary Doctorate of Engineering in 1971. In the same year MIM presented the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre to the university in his honour.
Julius died in Brisbane late in 1974.