Thayer Lindsley (1882-1976) was a mining pioneer and founder of Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited. Born in Yokohama, Japan, and raised in Boston, Mass., he has been described as the greatest miner of all time.
As the founder of Falconbridge, his company once ranked among the largest mining companies in the world. Lindsley is also credited with either founding of being involved in the development of such other famous Canadian mining names as Sheritt Gordon, Giant Yellowknife, Canadian Malartic, United Keno Hill, Lake Dufault and Opemiska Copper, Connemara in Southern Rhodesia, and Whim Creek in Australia.
It is said that his geological and creative genius touched the fortunes of more than 185 companies in all.
In 1928 Lindsley came to Falconbridge and purchased the land surrounding the Falconbridge mines. Not long after, he bought out the Falconbridge Company. With Ventures as the parent corporation, he established Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited. The purchase price of $2.5 million was the most anyone had ever paid for a mine in the Sudbury area.
By October of the following year, the No. 1 mine shaft was sunk without incident. Strangely enough, the company did not encounter the quicksand that had plagued Thomas Edison’s earlier attempts, even though the shaft was set up close to the same spot.
Soon, the company was building bunkhouses for employees near the No. 1 shaft, and as operations continued to expand, the Town of Falconbridge grew to include a general store, a post office, and a one-room schoolhouse; all of which were centralized in the vicinity of the mine shaft.
Lindsley remained a director of the Falconbridge Ltd. until 1967, when he accepted the honour of election as director emeritus. Even at the age of 90, four years before his death, Lindsley was still working on gold mines in France and Ontario, silver mines in Utah and Mexico, and many other projects.
A member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, Lindsley established an endowment trust fund in 1969 to benefit the University of Toronto and Haileybury School of Mines to support geological work and specified charities.
In 2006 and seven decades after the initial acquisition of Lindsley’s first mine in the Sudbury area, Falconbridge was acquired by Swiss Mining giant Xstrata PLC for approximately $22.5 billion.
Glencore Xstrata was formed following the merger of Glencore International and Xstrata, which was completed in May 2013.