Stewart Wallace and his team of geologists at Climax Molybdenum Company, through their discoveries of the Henderson mine and the Ceresco orebody at the Climax mine, profoundly influenced molybdenum mining in Colorado and molybdenum exploration in western North America. These monumental discoveries and their subsequent exploitation contributed enormously to Colorado’s mining industry and overall economic well-being.
Stewart Wallace earned his BA in geology at Dartmouth College, graduating in 1941. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1946, he earned his MS and PhD degrees in geology at the University of Michigan. From 1948 to 1955, Wallace served with the U.S. Geological Survey, mapping mineral districts in the western United States. In 1955, he went to work for the Climax Molybdenum Company, first as Resident Geologist at Climax, Colorado, then as Chief Geologist, and finally as Chief of Geology and Exploration.
While working for Climax Molybdenum, Stewart Wallace conducted detailed studies of the geology at both Climax and Red Mountain, the location of the Henderson orebody. He developed a multiple-intrusion model to describe the complex magmatic and hydrothermal events that produced the Climax orebody. This model enabled him to predict the existence of and to find the Henderson orebody. At the Climax mine, Wallace’s work resulted in the discovery of the Ceresco orebody and the deep, offset portion of the Ceresco orebody, which lies across a major fault. During his tenure with Climax Molybdenum, he also examined numerous foreign and domestic deposits and prospects, largely for molybdenite.
From 1970 to 1976, Stewart Wallace served as President and Director of Exploration for Mine Finders, Inc. In that capacity, he conducted mineral exploration in western North America for a three-way joint venture with Coolbaugh Mining and Bethlehem Steel. In 1976, he began a distinguished career as a geologic consultant whose advice was sought by many large corporations and smaller companies. Stewart Wallace published a number of outstanding articles on geology, was a Distinguished Member of the Society of Mining Engineers, and served as President of the Society of Economic Geologists in 1992-1993. In 1974, the SME presented its prestigious Daniel C. Jackling Award to Stewart Wallace in recognition of his discovery of the Henderson orebody.
Stewart Wallace’s larger legacy arises from his study of and insights into the origin of molybdenum orebodies. Stewart Wallace guided and inspired a whole generation of exploration geologists, whose research and exploration fostered discovery of several more molybdenum orebodies in western North America.