John Williamson (geologist)

John Williamson (Geologist)

John Williamson (geologist)

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John Thoburn Williamson (1907 –1958) was a Canadian geologist famous for establishing the Williamson diamond mine in present-day Tanzania.

Dr. Williamson was born in 1907 in Montfort, Quebec. He attended McGill University, where he initially intended to study law, but became interested in geology after accompanying a friend on a summer field expedition to Labrador. He subsequently earned bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in geology, completing his studies between 1928 and 1933."Three legends to join the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame," The Northern Miner, V. 96, No. 40, November 22-28, 2010, 5.

After completing his studies, Williamson traveled to South Africa with one of his professors, where he eventually took a job with Loangwa Concessions, a De Beers subsidiary in what was then Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He then moved on to work at the Mabuki diamond mine, which he purchased from the owners in 1936 when they had decided to shut the mine down. Williamson struggled to support himself with the operations of the Mabuki mine, while using it as a base for diamond prospecting in the region. In 1940, he discovered the diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe at Mwadui that he would develop over the coming years into the Williamson diamond mine.

The diamond mine at Mwadui was closely managed by Williamson, who by the 1950s had developed a diamond mining operation renowned for its efficiency and technological innovations. By 1952 the...
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