Thom Calandra: Pioneer Geologist Departs; Colombia Update

NAPA, California – Pioneer Nevada & Colombia geologist Raul Madrid died suddenly earlier this month. He was 66.

Dr. Madrid and I met several times over the years, as recently as this past spring. He lived in Napa, California, not far from where I live. Dr. Madrid

launched many companies during his career. He was a former vice president of exploration for Nevada’s Victoria Gold. He and another colleague, Ralph Roberts, worked along Nevada's prolific Carlin Trend for many years. Dr. Roberts was considered the father of the Carlin Trend.

"The exploration community lost a dedicated geologist," said Dr. Paul Zweng, a fellow geologist and one of Raul Madrid's students and co-workers. "He hired me to work with Ralph Roberts in Nevada."

Raul Madrid earned his doctorate at Stanford University under a National Science Foundation Fellowship in geology. He is credited with pioneering work in Nevada, in Colombia and in Spain. See: Related article.

[caption id="attachment_761" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Dr. Madrid in Nevada"][/caption]

At Victoria Gold, he discovered the Helen Zone, named after his wife, Helen, at the Cove-McCoy property in northern Nevada. At the time of his death, Dr. Madrid was a structural geology adviser for Lynden Energy Corp., a Texas explorer. Lynden's Richard Andrews and Dr. Madrid told me they were quite excited about their exploration efforts at their Wolfberry and Mitchell Ranch projects in west Texas.

Robert Carrington, a Nevada and Colombia geologist, worked with Dr. Madrid in Colombia. Mr. Carrington recalls, "From 1994 through mid 1995, Raul was running a Vancouver junior at the time, and through a mutual friend we got together and I wound up selling my private Colombian company, and the projects I had in it, including the beginnings of a JV for El Marmato with Mineros de Antioquia (now Mineros S.A.) to the junior that ultimately became Conquistador Mines Ltd. Other than Greystar, Conquistador was really the only junior of consequence in Colombia at the time and was very aggressive. Conquistador was attempting to consolidate Marmato Mountain, through the JV with Mineros, and was purchasing mines in the Zona Alta of Marmato with the objective of consolidating the district ... as Gran Colombia Gold is now attempting."

The sinking price of gold in the early 2000 put an end to Conquistador.

I will remember Dr. Madrid as someone whose name nearly always comes up when I am exploring in Colombia and in Nevada. My mind still has his visit in June 2010 to have breakfast with me and his partner, Mr. Andrews, at the Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley, California. I think we spent as much time sprawling maps across the front of a Range Rover in the parking lot, as we examined spud targets, as we did enjoying eggs and blueberry pancakes. He will be missed.

COLOMBIA UPDATES: My prospector of choice in Colombia, Bellhaven Copper & Gold (BHV), today reported positive metallurgical results from ore samples at La Mina. "Passage of this metallurgical hurdle significantly de-risks the project as mines are traditionally won or lost in the mill," says Paul Zweng, interim CEO and also quoted above. Paul tells me the results lay the groundwork for the copper and gold project to one day see life as a producing mine. See: Results.


Also: See you at Joe Martin and Cambridge House's Montreal show later this week. First, I am off to see a Tamaka Gold project, with Joe Martin, financier Howard Katz and investor outreacher Vance Loeber of Tydewell Consulting, near Rainy River in southwestern Ontario.

-- Thom Calandra (Thom will be speaking in Montreal, in Vancouver, in San Francisco and in several other locations between now and January.)