A Book Review – Intrepid Explorer

Intrepid Explorer, The Autobiography of the World’s Best Mine Finder is authored by J. David Lowell, a mining engineer and geologist, who has been personally responsible for or contributed to the discovery of seventeen mineral deposits around the world.

A native Arizonan, whose family roots date from territorial days, J. David Lowell was raised on a ranch near Nogales, Arizona.  He was introduced to mining at a young age by his father, who made a marginal living buying, staking or leasing small mines and selling hand-sorted ore during the Great Depression.  Using the knowledge gained while growing up, he helped finance his college education by collecting rare mineral specimens in Mexico.

David Lowell earned a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1949 and briefly worked for Asarco at the Santa Eulalia mine in Chihuahua, Mexico before taking a job with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to explore for uranium on the Colorado Plateau. He received a M.S. degree in Geology from Stanford in 1957.

Field observations made over nearly a decade following his graduation from Stanford, lead to the development a geological model for porphyry copper deposits, which he successfully used and refined over the years.  The Lowell-Guilbert Porphyry Copper Model was published in 1970 in an article he co-authored with University of Arizona professor, John Guilbert titled, “Lateral and Vertical Alteration:  Zoning in Porphyry Copper Deposits.”  This scientific publication remains a standard reference for exploration geologists, today.

A bit of a maverick, Dave Lowell is a sophisticated scientist and business genius, who has traveled to the four corners of the globe in search of the mineral wealth that makes modern society possible.  Guided by strict personal and ethical standards, he employs a tactical business strategy that uses classic techniques of exploration to gather clues from the rocks others have missed.  He is a master of organizing and managing logistically complex, exploration projects as well as creating the financial vehicles required to successfully implement them.

During his career, J. David Lowell has discovered more copper than anyone in history.  He is personally responsible for or contributed to the discoveries of the Kalamazoo, Vekol and Casa Grande West deposits in Arizona, the JA deposit in British Columbia, Bajo Alumbrera deposit in Argentina, the Dizon and Far Southeast deposits in the Philippines, Los Calatos and Toromocho deposits in Peru, Warintza and Mirador deposits in Ecuador, and the Escondida, Zaldivar and Leonor deposits in Chile.  Other achievements include the discovery of the San Cristobal gold-silver mine in Chile, the 8-million ounce Pierina gold deposit in Peru and the Alto Paraná titanium-iron deposit in Paraguay.

At 87 years old, J. David Lowell is the CEO of Lowell Copper Ltd., which holds mining properties in Arizona, Mexico, Ecuador, Portugal and Chile.  He has published more than fifty scientific articles and parts of four books on geology and mining.  Dave and his wife, Edith continue to reside on a cattle ranch near Nogales, Arizona.

Containing numerous anecdotes about his family, childhood, professional training, adventures to remote localities and international business activities, this autobiography is a fun read.  Intrepid Explorer is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


About David F. Briggs 47 Articles
David F. Briggs is a retired geologist, whose work is feature by the Arizona Geological Survey. Briggs intermittently worked on the Rosemont project between 2006 and 2014. He has authored articles on Arizona’s mining history.