Richard T. (Dick) Moolick established a lasting legacy in the mining industry, first during a 35-year career with Phelps Dodge Corporation and then as the driving force in establishing the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, Colorado as one of the finest museums in the western United States.
As Phelps Dodge President and Chief Operating Officer in 1983, Dick Moolick made labor history by facing down striking unions at Phelps Dodge mines in Arizona and its refinery in El Paso, Texas, ultimately achieving decertification of the unions and saving the corporation from bankruptcy. Under Dick Moolick’s leadership, Phelps Dodge also achieved notable increases in productivity and reductions in operating costs. Dick was initially a Mining Geologist, having received his Bachelor of Science degree in that discipline from the School of Mines at the University of Arizona in 1949. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University in 1989. At Phelps Dodge, Dick wore many hats prior to assuming leadership of the corporation.
During 20 years at its Morenci operations from 1949 to 1969, he was a geologist, mine planning engineer, Chief Geologist, Chief Engineer, and General Superintendent. He discovered the company’s Metcalf and Dos Pobres orebodies, and when he brought all of the Dos Pobres mining claims to patent at one time, they were the largest block of mining claims ever patented. He was subsequently Manager at Tyrone, New Mexico; Assistant General of Western Operations; Vice President of the Corporation; and President of the company’s Western Nuclear and Vice President of its Southern Peru Copper subsidiaries.
As Chairman of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, beginning in 1987, Dick secured the museum a home in the then-vacated, former Leadville high school building; recruited 100 Founders for the Museum, each contributing $1,000 to begin development, and led the museum to a position of eminence at the time of his retirement in 2009.
Mining’s colorful history is showcased throughout the museum. The Hall of Fame and Museum is a monument to the memory of the men and women who pioneered the discovery and development of our nation’s natural resources, and Dick Moolick is well-deserving of a place among those men and women. He received the museum’s 2007 Prazen Award for his role in educating the public as to the importance of mining.
Dick Moolick served his country as a naval aviator during World War II, flying combat missions in the central Pacific. He served his industry through his participation in and leadership of numerous industry organizations. He was President of the New Mexico Mining Association and other New Mexico industry organizations. He was a member of SME-AIME, the Mining & Metallurgical Society of America, the Newcomen Society of the United States, and the Colorado Mining Association. In 2001, AIME presented Dick Moolick with its William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal “in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished contributions to the mining industry, particularly for his leadership of Phelps Dodge and as a founder of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.”