The formation of a society for chemists, analysts, and assayers originated with Mr. John Gilles of Noranda Mines. His participation in attempting the formation of such an organization dates back to the 1930’s, then again after the war in the 1948-49 era, and later in the 1960’s. The idea was not totally accepted on those occasions. In 1965 the situation changed. When Mr. Gilles became General manger of Noranda’s 22 laboratories he found a more receptive audience at the management level to the idea of a society for chemists and assayers. Environmental and trace element problems and the importance of meeting government standards made it obvious to top level people in the industry that closer liaison between laboratories was essential. Mr. Gilles sent out letters to every mine manager indicating this and the action he was proposing. The response was unanimously in favour of such a meeting. The first meeting was held on October 8th, 1969, in Noranda, Quebec. Several papers were presented after which a discussion followed regarding any interest in Mr. Gilles proposal to form a society for analysts. The response was unanimously in favour of such an organization and the Canadian Mineral Analysts was born.
The CMA provides scholarships to students who are enrolled in mineral science or chemical technology programs at Canadian colleges. The awards are not only made on the basis of the student’s academic performance but students are evaluated by the college on their involvement, commitment and overall motivation towards pursuing a career in the Canadian mining industry. Some scholarships have been named in honour of CMA members who were long time members and have been staunch supporters of the CMA and its activities. The individuals so honoured are Mr. James Tweed, Dr. Ian Devereux, Mr. Bill Clifford, and Dr. Eric Hoffman.
The Bill Clifford Scholarship was created in 2015 and is
awarded annually by the Canadian Mineral Analysts (CMA) to a
student enrolled in the BCIT Assayer Certification Training Program.
Assayer Certification in BC started in 1895.
Bill enjoyed an extensive career in the gold mining industry.
Bill worked in the mining industry for over 50 years. He was
well known and respected for his knowledge of the methods,
products, the business, his integrity and professionalism. He was
a calm caring individual and always a gentleman.
After graduating from high school, Bill started working for Swastika Laboratories in Swastika, Ontario, which is part of the extended "gold camp" of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. The main service of the lab was assaying for gold content, working with exploration companies and established mines.
Bill started in the sample preparation room of the lab while learning the trade from the co-owners: Mr. William Gerrie and Dr. Douglas Ker-Lawson. Under their mentorship, Bill learned everything from sample preparation to all aspects of wet chemical analysis and fire assaying.
Bill moved on to X-Ray Assay Laboratories Ltd., a commercial laboratory in Toronto, where he worked in the Analytical Lab preparing samples and analyzing them by x-ray fluorescence and atomic absorption methods.
Bill then moved on to work as the Chief Assayer at Dome Mines, South Porcupine, Ontario, for 11 years. There he was responsible for all aspect of the department: personnel, budget, capital expenditures, purchasing, as well as ensuring the quality of analysis of 300 + samples a day –all with a keen focus on new method development.
Bill joined Mines Assay Supplies in 1986 as the General Manager; his knowledge of the business and products dovetailed nicely into sales. Mines Assay was purchased by Anachemia Science in 1993. Bill managed the Kirkland Lake Branch for 11 years before moving to a Director of Sales position at Anachemia in the Vancouver Office where he worked until he retired.
Bill became a member of the Canadian Mineral Analysis in 1976 and he remained active until his passing in May 2015. He was Secretary and Treasurer for many years. When mining had slow years and there was some doubt that the annual conference would happen, Bill took up the cause and was known at the annual event to be always on the lookout for someone who would commit to "Host" the next conference. Bill was instrumental in ensuring the CMA continued each year. He was also instrumental in assisting Jack Simmons to set up the Society of Mineral Analysts in the US.
Bill was very passionate and committed to the continuing education of people who were interested in entering the mining industry. This was evidenced through not only his active membership in the CMA and SMA, but also through the mentorship and support he offered others.
Over the years Bill never stopped growing or learning. He took a two-year course in General Chemistry, a course to study conversational French, safety courses, photography, golf lessons, to name a few. He volunteered for the United Way, the CNIB, the Canadian Red Cross, the United Church, a Christmas Food Fund, he coached soccer, and he was an avid Toronto Maple Leafs fan.
Bill enjoyed his annual family fishing trips, and treasured his family.
He is sadly missed by all who knew him and shared his life.