William Selkirk died on 16th February, 1961, at the age of 92.

He was born in Cumberland and educated at Ghyll Bank College, Whitehaven, and from 1888 to 1890 was an articled pupil with the late Mr. I.D. Kendall, consulting mining engineer in Whitehaven, and worked in West Cumberland iron ore mines.

He had a short surveying engagement in Mexico in 1891, and went to Santander, Spain, in 1892. He returned to work in Lancashire in 1894, and from 1895 to 1896 was a mining engineer in West Africa, first for Wassau gold mines and later for British Gold Fields of West Africa, Ltd. He spent the next two years journeying over 6000 miles on foot as geologist on the expedition to Central Africa sent out by Rhodesia Concessions, Ltd., to search for gold.

He was general manager of Panuco Copper Co., in Mexico in 1899 and mine manager of Mountain Copper Co., California, in 1900. He returned to England in the following year and set up as consulting mining engineer in London. Until he retired from private practice in 1925 he travelled extensively, visiting copper, manganese and iron ore fields in various parts of the world. For two years during the 1914-18 war Mr. Selkirk was controller of the iron mines in Cumberland and the north of England.

In 1925 he joined Mr. (now Sir) A. Chester Beatty who had just formed Selection Trust, and was appointed a director of this company and of later associated companies. Early in 1926 he went back to Africa to examine the company’s properties in Northern Rhodesia, including what is now Roan Antelope. The drilling programme he recommended for the Roan Antelope and Rietbok properties proved with exceptional economy the continuity of the Roan Antelope orebodies and was a turning point in the development of the Copperbelt.

Mr. Selkirk was the first managing director of Roan Antelope and held the office of vice-chairman of Selection Trust for many years. He retired from active business in 1945, but his interest in the Group continued.

Mr. Selkirk was elected a Member of the Institution in 1902. He was also a Fellow of the Geological Society and a member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers. He was an Honorary Associate of the Royal School of Mines, and was elected a Fellow of Imperial College in 1949. A generous benefactor, he had mining education at the Royal School of Mines very much at heart in his provision for a scholarship fund for undergraduate courses in mining and mineral technology. A hall of residence bears his name.

Vol. 72, Trans I.M.M., 1962-63, p.396

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