ALAN ARCHER (1933-2018)

Earlier this year we received the sad news that Al Archer, a founding member of the Association of Exploration Geochemists in 1970, which is now the Association of Applied Geochemists (AAG), had passed away in January.  He was in fact Member Number 1 of the Association, and was a real pioneer in mineral exploration in the Yukon as well as a very early adopter of geochemistry.  The following story of his life and career is adapted from an obituary that appeared in the Vancouver Sun on February 2 2018:

Al Archer passed away in Vancouver, Canada on January 9, 2018.  Al was born May 26, 1933 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in Geological Engineering in 1957 and worked in his chosen profession until his retirement in 2003.  His first position as a geologist was with United Keno Hill Mines in the Yukon and, after a short time at Texada Mines, he returned to United Keno Hill Mines as Chief Geologist.  In 1966, Al and Bob Cathro formed Archer Cathro & Associates Ltd., opening a Whitehorse consulting office which specialized in Yukon mineral exploration and engineering.  Archer Cathro is still in operation after more than 50 years, and Al was proud that the firm was one of the first to hire female geologists.  In the late 1960s, Al discovered a large copper-gold deposit in the Casino area, which established Archer Cathro as an industry leader.  Archer Cathro began compiling a mineral inventory database for the Yukon in 1972, which was later purchased by the Yukon Government to become the foundation for the current Yukon MINFILE database.  During the 1980s, the company conducted high-grade silver mining in the Keno Hill district, which led to the discovery of extremely rare silver crystals formed in ice.  The crystals were donated to the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa in 1990.  Archer Cathro recognized the scenic value of the Tombstone Mountains and, in 1994, voluntarily forfeited its Tombstone mineral claims to help with the creation of the Tombstone Territorial Park.  In 1998, Al was a recipient of the H.H. “Spud” Huestis Award for excellence in prospecting and exploration, and in 2002 Archer Cathro was inducted into the Yukon Prospectors Hall of Fame.  Al was married to his wife Maureen for 62 years.


Steve Cook and Peter Bradshaw