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John Patrick Nicholas "Nick" Badham 1947 - 2010

Nick Badham Nick Badham died suddenly at the early age of 63 following a heart attack while mapping in Almeria, Spain. Nick was a highly respected international economic geologist, never happier than when he was in the field, where he had an excellent eye for detail. He was born in Singapore, where his parents were stationed with the British Army. He grew up in military surroundings, largely in Germany and was educated at Cheltenham College. He obtained his first degree from Oxford in 1969 and his doctorate at the University of Alberta in 1973 where he studied silver deposits in the Lower Proterozoic Slave Province.

Nick went from his PhD directly to a lectureship in the Geology Department at Southampton University, which he held for 10 years, establishing an economic geology research group. Most of his 30+ peer-reviewed papers originate from this period, aided by a flourishing group of graduate students. He was a breath of fresh air in the Department when I joined in 1977, where his great passion for geology and particularly for mineral deposits engaged and motivated students. He established economic geology as a characterising feature of the Southampton curriculum. From that time, a high proportion of Southampton graduates have entered the minerals industry, many now occupying senior management positions. In 1979 he was awarded the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy William Frecheville prize.

In 1982 Nick left academia to develop a successful career in mineral exploration. He joined Selection Trust, which shortly afterwards became BP Minerals International Ltd. When, in late 1988, BP sold its mineral interests to Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration, Nick was appointed chief geologist to the new Exploration Research Department and played a leading role in its exploration strategy. In 1984 he was extremely lucky to survive a skull fracture in a 22m freefall down a disused mine shaft in the Pyrenees. Many thought he would never be the same again, but with characteristic determination he made a complete recovery.

In 1996 Nick left Rio Tinto and became an independent consulting geologist, setting up Nibex exploration. This enabled him to continue his passion for metals and practise his considerable field skills. He had an impressive international client list and was working for one of them when he suffered his cardiac arrest.

Nick was a staunch support of the Geological Society. He was a founder member and regular attendee of the Mineral Deposits Studies Group where his contributions were highly valued and will be greatly missed (and possibly also his famous limericks). He maintained academic contact through visiting positions with Kingston and Southampton Universities. He acquired a considerable reputation for his ability to ask a penetrating question, to ‘think outside the box’ and for his irreverent sense of humour.

In Over Wallop, Nick was a well-respected member of the community as testified by the overflowing congregation at his funeral. In his spare time he was a keen gardener and field sportsman. He is survived by his wife Trisha, his mother Edith and sister Judy, his five children (Richard, Harry, Tommie, Tim and Edward) and six grandchildren (Louis, Oliver, Aveline, Alexander, Dorothy and William).

Jim Andrews, with grateful acknowledgments to Trisha Badham.