Emeritus Professor Don McKee, Formerly Director of JKMRC and SMI

This seminar is built around the career and legacy of Julius Kruttschnitt, the American mining engineer justly credited with developing Mount Isa Mines Ltd into one of the world’s great mining companies. Kruttschnitt’s career began in 1907 and from 1909 till 1930 he worked for ASARCO in both Mexico and the south west of the US based in Tucson. In 1930 ASARCO gained a controlling interest in the still developing lead mine of Mines Isa Mines Ltd at Mount Isa. Kruttschnitt was posted to Mount Isa as the General Manager in November 1930. His struggles to turn Mount Isa into a successful operation against seemingly insurmountable difficulties over the ensuing 20 years are the stuff of legend. JK’s career during his American and Australian periods is traced, as are the hurdles he overcame. Some qualities of the man are explored, all with the purpose of justifying the term greatness in the seminar title. Finally, his legacy is considered along with its impact on the JKMRC and research in general.


Don McKee gained a Metallurgical Engineering degree from The University of Queensland in 1968 and a PhD as a student of Alban Lynch in 1972. There are on-going links between his career and the Julius Kruttschnitt story. He first worked at Mount Isa Mines, then in Leadville, Colorado (for Climax Molybdenum), the town where ASARCO was established. In 1981 he joined the JKMRC and was its Director from 1990- 96, succeeding Alban Lynch. He established the Sustainable Minerals Institute in 2000 and was its inaugural Director till retirement at the end of 2007. In recent years he has become interested in the career of Julius Kruttschnitt and in Julius, the man.

About SMI-JKMRC Seminars

2017 Seminar Series


Lecture Theatre, JKMRC