Friday, 23 March 2018

In memory of Paul Burton, a fine Cornish Mining Engineer

Paul (centre back row) in 1975, with fellow final year students
the late John Tinkler, and John Webber.
Left on the front row is the head of mineral processing,
F.B. Michell, and on the right the Principal, Peter Hackett.
Last night's Cornish Mining Sundowner in the north coast village of Portreath, was missing one of its regulars, Paul Burton, a great guy who sadly passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. I had known Paul for over 43 years. He was a final year mining student and good rugby player at Camborne School of Mines when I took up my lecturing duties in 1974. He had an MSc in Mineral Economics and an MBA from Wits University, South Africa, and for the past 5 years was Managing Director of Piran Mining Research Ltd, providing independent online research and evaluations of selected gold companies worldwide. He was also a consultant and mining analyst for various companies, and for over 15 years was the Editor of World Gold Analyst, and for 22 years Chairman of the FTSE Gold Mines Index Committee.
It was good to see so many of Paul's friends at the Portreath Arms Hotel to celebrate his life and to raise our glasses to his memory. It was particularly good to meet CSM graduate Jeremy Wrathall, founder and CEO of Cornish Lithium, and to hear of the investigations into innovative methods of extraction of lithium from the Cornish brines.

Jeremy Wrathall with Cornish Lithium geologists George Fry and Lucy Crane
Paul Burton appears on many of the sundowner pictures, but my favourite is the one below taken at the October 2015 sundowner, where Paul (2nd left) was sharing a joke with fellow alumni Mark Shimmield and Nick Wilshaw, and the late Prof. Keith Atkinson.
Our thoughts are with Paul's daughter, Jenna, at this sad time. The funeral service will be held on Wednesday April 4th at 11.30am at the Penryn Methodist Church, followed by a celebration of Paul's life at the Thirsty Scholar pub in Penryn.
Twitter @barrywills


  1. Hello there, it’s Jenna, Paul’s daughter. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I know Dad would have loved to have been there, but I’m sure he’ll be raising a glass up there. Thank you too for thinking of me, and hope to see you on the 4th.

    1. Thanks Jenna, and sincere condolences once more. Your dad was indeed a great guy and I feel privileged to have know him (and taught him very briefly). There will be many more glasses raised tonight at the CSM Annual Dinner in Falmouth. Barbara and I will be in Penryn on the 4th.

  2. I did not know Paul but he sounds like a good person and an exceptional Minerals Processor and Extractive Metallurgist of our era. Your blog also mentions the late John Tinkler who I worked with for many years in Zambia at Chambishi and Nchanga. That final Sundowner is getting to be quite a crowd. Cheers and Good Health.
    Tony Francis, Director, Francis Minerals Consulting Limited, UK

  3. A minute's silence was observed at last night's Annual Dinner, in remembrance of Paul and CSM geologists Keith Atkinson and Alan Bromley, and guest speaker Emma Priestley spoke movingly of Paul

  4. Paul will be missed around the world. I last saw him in Kazakhstan last year on a visit to Central Asia Metals. He was a great colleague at Mining Journal and a great help thereafter, passing on leads and always interesting to travel with. Sadly we will miss the funeral as we will be in Australia but our thoughts will be with everyone.

    John Chadwick, Founder, International Mining


If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment to and I will submit on your behalf