Under the dedicated leadership of Robert Henderson, the Climax Molybdenum Mine became a world-class model of underground mining efficiency.
Henderson graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930 with a degree in mining engineering, and began his professional career as a hard-rock miner in 1936 with the Climax Molybdenum Company, a division of AMAX Inc., at their Climax Mine near Leadville, Colorado. He advanced steadily from blaster to grizzly boss, foreman to engineer, and finally to General Superintendent. In 1959, he took over as General Manager of Western Operations and oversaw the company’s molybdenum and tungsten production as well as its uranium and vanadium properties in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
Under Henderson’s guidance, the Climax mining operation came to be recognized throughout the world as a leader in innovation and production efficiency. He was instrumental in introducing the “slusher drift” system of mining to the underground operations at Climax and production increased dramatically. Underground mines throughout the world sought to imitate the mine’s incredible record of productivity.
Henderson was also an important civic leader and served as President of the Colorado Mining Association, Chairman of the Natural Resources Council and Director of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce. He was the guiding force behind the building of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Leadville.
It is fitting that the world-class molybdenum deposit near Empire, Colorado, discovered under his leadership, was named the AMAX Henderson Mine in honor of this great leader and mining man.