Ira Joralemon was a consultant for 51 years, retiring in 1973. His work took him to South America, Europe, Africa, Russia, India and the Philippines as well as Canada, Alaska and the mainland United States.
A graduate of Harvard University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mining and metallurgy, he joined the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company as a mining engineer. In 1917 he became Chief Geologist and in 1919, assistant general manager. For three years during this period he was loaned to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company for whom he made extensive examinations in South America and Siberia.
From 1912 to 1928 he played a key role in the development of the New Cornelia ore body at Ajo, Arizona. In 1915 he recommended a high-risk exploration program which led to the discovery of the United Verde Extension ore body at Jerome, Arizona.
In 1922 he left Calumet and Arizona to set up his consulting business in San Francisco, although he continued to accept assignments from Calumet and Arizona and its successor company, Phelps Dodge Corporation, for another 50 years.
Among the great mines he helped discover or develop were Potrerillos for the Anaconda Company in Chile; the Ahumada lead mine in Mexico; the Central Eureka gold mine at Sutter Creek, California; the Consolidated Copper mine at Ely, Nevada; the Yellow Pine tungsten mine in Idaho; two gold dredging operations in Alaska; and the Bralorne gold mine in British Columbia.
He served on the staff of General “Billy” Mitchell in the U.S. Army Air Service in World War I and, as a member of the War Production Board in World War II, helped assure an adequate supply of strategic minerals for America and its allies.
In 1934 Joralemon published his definitive account of the history of copper, Romantic Copper--Its Lore and Its Lure. This was revised and brought up to date in 1972 under the title Copper.
He was a member and past president of the Society of Economic Geologists and a member and past director of the A.I.M.E. In 1976 his autobiography, Adventure Beckons, was published posthumously by the Society of Mining Engineers for the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America.