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John Campbell Greenway

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National Mining Hall of Fame 2015 Inductee John Campbell GreenwayJohn Campbell Greenway



John Campbell Greenway was a man of unique engineering ability, managerial talent,  perseverance, and a solid reputation for completing tough jobs. A mining, steel and  railroad executive, Greenway also had a distinguished career as a soldier.


Born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1872, Greenway graduated from Yale University with a  PhD in engineering and was a celebrated athlete. His early mining employment was  cut short when he joined Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War and  earned a Silver Star for courageous service at the Battle of San Juan Hill.  After the  war, Greenway resumed his mining career with U. S. Steel Corporation where he led  the development of the Western Mesabi Iron Ore Range in Minnesota.  Asked to move  to Bisbee, Arizona in 1910, he became General Manager of the Calumet & Arizona  Copper Company. He was later named General Manager of New Cornelia Copper  Company (NCCC) and the Cornelia & Gila Bend Railway.


It was at NCCC where Greenway reached the pinnacle of his career. Copper mineralization at Ajo was remote, had no water, and the low grade copper deposit was resistant to conventional processing methods. Greenway led NCCC in taking on the Ajo challenge.  He led the development of the Ajo townsite. For water, he found an ancient lava flow which he tapped into using a large oil rig. Man-made caverns housed the pumps and a pipeline brought the water across miles of desert into town.


Ore processing was the next challenge. Greenway and Dr. L. D. Ricketts developed, demonstrated, and patented a new process.  Leaching ores with dilute sulfuric acid in lead-lined vats followed by electrowinning copper directly from solution yielded cathode-grade copper which converted the recalcitrant Ajo mineralization into a lucrative mining venture.  The railroad company began operation that same year, efficiently connecting mine to market.  Between 1918 and 1957, NCCC and its successor Phelps Dodge shipped over 3 billion pounds of copper from the facility.


After successfully opening copper mining in Arizona, Greenway once again joined the military in World War I, and for bravery was awarded the Croix de Guerre and l’Etoile, the Legion of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross.  In 1930, General Greenway’s statue was placed in the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall Collection.


Theodore Roosevelt described Greenway as one of two or three men he turned to when there was a need to find a man for a duty of particular hazard or peculiar responsibility. A eulogy in the New York Herald Tribune said, "When Greenway came upon the field of athletics or war, confidence ran through team or regiment. To know why, to analyze the reasons, would be to analyze life itself, but some of the component elements all men know -- courage, leadership, common sense, unselfishness, loyalty, mercy. All these Greenway had."  In his will, Greenway left $100,000 to the miners of NCCC.


2015 nomination by Jim Shultz

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