John Alexander Agnew died at Trona, California, on August 3rd, 1939, from pneumonia following an attack of inﬂuenza, at the age of 67. He had lately returned from a visit to the properties of the Yukon Consolidated Corporation, of which he was President.
Mr. Agnew was born in New Zealand and received his education and early mining experience in that Dominion. In 1898, having already become associated with the gold mining industry of Western Australia, he was appointed underground manager of the Sons of Gwalia under the direction of Mr. H.C. Hoover, who represented Messrs. Bewick, Moreing & Co. in the Commonwealth. This was the beginning of a long association with Mr. Hoover, with whom he went to China in search of mining concessions.
In 1902, on the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion, he returned to Western Australia to take over the management of a group of mines for Messrs. Bewick, Moreing & Co. In 1912 he resigned that position to join his old chief, Mr. Hoover, in London, and in that connection made extended visits to North and South America. In collaboration with Mr. Hoover and the late Mr. Francis Govett he was associated with Lake View & Oroya Exploration, Ltd., Lake View & Star, Ltd., Camp Bird, Ltd., and Santa Gertrudis, Ltd.
After the war he took a prominent part in the affairs of the Burma Corporation, Ltd., and other mining companies. He was appointed a director of the Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa, Ltd., and the New Consolidated Gold Fields, Ltd., in 1922, and eleven years later succeeded Lord Bradbourne as Chairman. At the time of his death he was chairman of those companies and twelve others, and a director of thirteen, mostly mining concerns. He was largely instrumental in the revival of gold mining in Western Australia and on the Gold Coast.
Mr. Agnew was elected a Member of the Institution in 1906, and was a Member of Council for ten years from 1918 to 1926. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Institution in 1933, in recognition of his services in the development of the mineral resources of the Empire and of the mining industry. Mr. Agnew gave invaluable personal assistance to the Council in the promotion of the Institution’s Endowment Fund in 1935-36, and in addition to the donation of £10,000 from the New Consolidated Gold Fields, Ltd., many other donations were partly due to his skilful advocacy.
Vol. 49, Trans IMM 1939-40, p.731