(This is a magazine cutting, from a single column in a magazine with a note saying it comes from Horizon, March 1961.  I assume that Horizon was a house magazine for Selection Trust, or for the mining community.)

Mr William Selkirk dies at 92


Mr William Selkirk, a former vice-chairman of Selection Trust, who was closely concerned with the formation of the Roan Antelope company, with Rhodesian Selection Trust and with Mufulira, and whose name is commemorated by one of Mufulira’s mineshafts, died in England, on February 16, just 10 days before his 93rd birthday.

It was Mr Selkirk who, in 1926, recommended for the Roan and Riebok properties a drilling programme which broke right away from the traditions of the day. His program, which saves time and money by allowing for drill holes far more widely spaced than was customary, proved his contention that large deposits of sulphide ore lay at depth, and the discovery was a turning point in the development of the copperbelt.

Mr Selkirk was born in Cumberland in 1868 and his early mining engineering training was in the West Cumberland iron ore mines.

After various appointments abroad and in England, he was appointed, in 1897, geologist to an expedition sent out to Central Africa by a London company, Rhodesia Concessions Ltd., to search for gold. That expedition walked more than 6,000 miles in a 20 month journey which included travel in large tracts of Northern Rhodesia which the Europeans had previously never trod.

This after further copper mining experience in Mexico and California, he returned to London in 1901 and eventually set up practice as a consulting mining engineer. He retired from practice in 1925, in which year he joined the board of Selection Trust. It was when he went back to Africa the following year to examine the company’s properties in Northern Rhodesia that he recommended his drilling program for Roan,  of which he was the first managing director.

Since 1945, Mr Selkirk had lived quietly in retirement in Sussex but his interest in the affairs of the group never ceased.


HORIZON, March, 1961, page 17