Stanley (Stan) Dempsey is among the most multi-faceted individuals in the mining community. He is a geologist, lawyer, historian, author, investment banker, corporate executive, and a pioneering leader for proactive environmental protectionism. He retired as Chairman of the Board of Royal Gold, Inc. in 2014. Perhaps key to his career success is his thoroughly likable nature.
Stan started his mining career with his hands dirty, operating small gold, tungsten, and uranium mines in Colorado and Montana. He received a Geology degree from the University of Colorado in 1960, joined Climax as an engineer, and later Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation as a research analyst while pursuing a law degree, which he also earned from the University of Colorado in 1964.
Stan’s prestigious career with AMAX, Inc. saw various engineering, legal, operating, and executive positions, including Vice President of AMAX, Inc. and Senior VP of Climax Molybdenum Company. He championed collaborative approaches to compliance, environmental assessment, reclamation planning, and actively participated in legislative and rule making processes. His pioneering “Experiment in Ecology” led to the successful development of the Henderson Mine in Colorado. As VP of AMAX, he was responsible for interests in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Indonesia. In this capacity, he was responsible for AMAX’s interest in the Mt. Newman iron ore complex. After AMAX, Stan practiced law for several years as a partner in the firm Arnold & Porter.
The Royal Gold story began in 1981 as Royal Resources Corporation, an oil and gas company. An oil price collapse caused the company to shift its focus to gold. Stan was a director of Royal Resources at the time and co-founder of Denver Mining Finance Corporation(DMFC), a merchant bank providing merger and acquisition and funding services to mining firms. Stan and DMFC partner Edwin Peiker engineered a reverse takeover where Royal Resources acquired DMFC in 1986, renaming the company Royal Gold. Stan managed exploration and development activities that resulted in a major gold discovery in Nevada, which was sold with Royal Gold retaining a significant royalty on future production. He later restructured Royal Gold into a gold royalty business model. When Stan retired as Executive Chairman in 2008,Royal Gold’s market capitalization was approximately $1.5 billion. He continued to serve as non-executive Chairman until 2014.
Stan has been very active in trade, professional, civic, and environmental organizations. He held leadership positions in the World Gold Council, Colorado Mining Association, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree by the Colorado School of Mines in 2006, the William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal Award from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration in 2007 and the Gold Medal Award from the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America in 2011.
Click here to watch a video about him.
Click here to visit Stan's oral history, which is preserved at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.