Wednesday, 25 April 2018

An Nchanga reunion in Cape Town

Barbara and I had a lovely meal last night at the Vineyard Hotel’s The Square restaurant in the company of Roger and Janet Thomas and Jack and Priscilla Holmes.
BW, Jack, Jan, Barbara, Priscilla and Roger
Roger was acting plant metallurgist on the Nchanga concentrator when I arrived in Zambia in late 1969 and he and his wife Janet left Chingola in early 1971. We totally lost touch until we discovered our whereabouts via the blog.

Jack is a true Copperbelt legend (posting of 11th November 2017), being responsible for bringing solvent extraction to Nchanga and to large scale copper operations.  His career progression at Nchanga was very rapid, and in 1964 he became Metallurgical Superintendent at Nchanga, and Metallurgical Manager in 1968 at the remarkably young age of 38. Our separate paths at Nchanga crossed only very briefly, as Jack left in 1970 and moved south, first to Lusaka, and then in 1974 to Anglo's head office in Johannesburg, where he held senior positions in various operating divisions, becoming Technical Director of Anglo American in 1978.

It was really good to meet Priscilla for the first time last night. She writes novels and runs creative workshops in Cape Town. Her first book, a teenage novel, The Children of Mer, was published in 2004, and in 2014 her first crime novel, Now I See You, set in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, was published.

Hopefully we will all get together in November, to reminisce, after the next two MEI Conferences in Cape Town.

Twitter @barrywills


  1. I was just reading the other week the iconic paper by Holmes and Fisher presented at the 1971 IMM Conference in London, the first conference I ever attended. I never did have the pleasure of meeting Jack, but I did work closely with Jim Fisher for a few years thereafter, especially when he retired to consulting in London. Whilst reading the paper, I actually wondered if either of them was still alive, so this blog is very timely for me in that sense.

    1. Contact me by email Bryn if you would like Jack's email address


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