Southeast Alumnus Discovers one of World’s Largest Zinc/Lead/Silver Deposits


Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Don Taylor has traveled the world following his passion for geology.

In his 39-year career, Taylor has moved 16 times, lived abroad in Africa for two years and worked in more than 40 countries around the world. With his extensive mineral exploration experience and expertise with precious and base metals, he has led projects from exploration to mine development.

He considers himself fortunate to have a successful and rewarding career that began at Southeast.

“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came to Southeast, but I knew it would be in one of the sciences,” Taylor said. “I took courses in many of the science related-fields offered, but when I took my first geology introduction course, the decision was easy. I liked the challenge of geology as it incorporated many disciplines and the opportunity to do something I really enjoyed while spending a lot of time outdoors.”

He has worked extensively for large and small cap companies, including BHP Minerals, Bear Creek Mining, American Copper and Nickel, Doe Run Resources and Westmont Mining Company, and is a licensed professional geologist in several eastern and western states.

“What really excites me about the exploration game is that when our teams are successful, we put lots of people to work and create true wealth in a way few other industries can,” he said. “That thought makes it very easy to get up in the morning.”

In 2010, Taylor joined Arizona Mining Inc., a Canadian mineral exploration and development company focused on the exploration and development of its 100 percent-owned Hermosa Project located in Santa Cruz County in Arizona.

As chief operating officer, Taylor compiled historical exploration data for the area and flew an airborne survey in 2011. Using this information to develop a new geological model, he launched a drilling campaign.

In 2014, Taylor and his team discovered what is now named the “Taylor Deposit,” a carbonate replacement deposit containing lead, zinc and silver sulfide mineralization in altered limestone. Once in production it will be one of the world’s largest lead/zinc/silver deposit ever discovered, with more than 100 million tons of 10.5 percent zinc equivalent, translating to a net value of $6 billion.

“As an economic geologist, you are always optimistic that the next drill hole will bring the next major discovery, but this seldom happens,” he said. “At Arizona Mining, we are fortunate to have a very dedicated team of professionals who have achieved much in a very short timeframe.”

Southeast alumnus Don Taylor (left) receives the 2018 Thayer Lindsley Award from Rod Thomas (right), former president and member of Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), at the PDAC’s Annual Convention and Awards Gala.

The discovery was recently recognized by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada which awarded Taylor and Arizona Mining the 2018 Thayer Lindsley Award.

“It is an unbelievable honor just to be nominated for the Thayer Lindsley Award, but to actually win it is a dream come true,” Taylor said.

Taylor attributed his success to his start at Southeast, where he was first inspired by faculty.

“The geology department had a group of talented professors that went well beyond just training students. I was challenged in ways that I simply couldn’t imagine,” he said. “I will be forever grateful for their guidance and instruction.”

As he nears the end of his long and successful career, he is looking forward to completing production of the “Taylor Deposit,” which is scheduled to begin in 2020.

“I want to see this very significant project become a world class mining facility operating in a safe and environmentally sustainable fashion while supplying much of America’s need for these particular mineral resources,” he said.  “I want to evaluate the balance of our property position to see what additional resources can be located for future mining.”

But Taylor doubts he’ll ever be able to fully retire from a career that he’s loved for so long.

“I hope to stay engaged with exploration projects and mentoring the next crop of explorers,” he said.

For future Southeast graduates and explorers, Taylor advises them to push themselves out of their comfort zone.

“Don’t be afraid to try different classes, because you never know when you will find a passion that lasts a lifetime,” he said. “Once out of school, never be afraid to take on new challenges, even those you don’t feel prepared for. In these modern times, instant gratification and impatience seem to dominate. Success rarely follows those rules. Never mistake activity for achievement.”

Taylor is a 1979 Southeast graduate with a Bachelor of Science in geology. He also holds a Master of Science in geology and geophysics from University of Missouri–Rolla, the forerunner to Missouri University of Science and Technology.