John Ross Bradfield
So diverse were the achievements of John Bradfield that he can
well be characterized as a coach who built a winning team capable
of excellent performance on more than one type of playing field.
Long identified with Noranda Mines Limited, he was president and
chief executive officer of that organization from 1956-68. John
Bradfield not only assured the future of this company as a mining
organization, but he also elevated it to the status of a national
natural resource company. During this latter process, the focus
on the development and acquisition of new mines was never lost.
J.R. Bradfield was born in the Ontario riverside town of Morrisburg
in 1899 and was graduated from McGill University in 1922 with
a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. Early employment
took him to the Unites States where he was a field engineer on
the construction of Yankee Stadium.
When the New York-based Thomson-Chadbourne syndicate formed Noranda
Mines Limited in 1922 to develop the Home claims in what was then
the wilds of northern Quebec, John Bradfield was hired to work
on the engineering drawings. From that point forward, Noranda
was his career.
In 1927 he became construction superintendent responsible for
construction of all surface buildings at the mine. In succession,
he became plant engineer, company secretary, executive assistant
to the president, director and vice-president. In 1956, he became
president and chief executive officer; he became chairman of the
board and chief executive officer in 1962. To lighten his load,
he relinquished the president s post in 1964 but remained chairman
of the board and CEO. He resigned in 1968 but remained as Chairman
of the board until 1974 when he was appointed honorary chairman,
a post which he held until his death in 1983, thus completing
more than 60 years of service to Noranda.
Reasonably early in his executive career, he faced a problem that
all mineral operations must eventually face: the great Home Mine,
centrepiece of the Noranda operation, was running out of ore and
would be exhausted by the mid-1970's. Survival and continuity
demanded new ore or new company direction. In fight of this bleak
outlook, John Bradfield assembled a team of young, well educated
people from various disciplines to help lead the company in the
direction of diversification and growth. His management style
emphasized a team approach with him as a modest coach. The results
He spearheaded the development of Gaspe Copper Mines and Geco
Mines, three Matagami area mines and the zinc reduction plant
in Valleyfield. He channeled investment into Brunswick Mining
and Smelting and Placer Development. He directed the development
of Central Canada Potash, Boss' Mountain and Kennedy Lake Mines.
Under John Bradfield's direction, exploration was increased, advanced
technology emphasized and the Noranda Research Centre established.
He led Noranda into the new fields of forest products and aluminum.
Mining-related education received his strong support. He launched
the Canadian Mineral Industry Education Foundation, was president
of CIM, won the Inco Medal, earned two honorary degrees and was
invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada. During his career
with Noranda, company assets increased six-fold.