R. Gene Dewey
President and CEO of Molycorp,
Retired Mining Executive
2023 Medal of Merit Recipient
R. Gene Dewey was born in Sewickley, PA in April of 1940. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS degree in Business in 1961. After a short stint in the steel industry, he joined Kennecott Copper Corporation in AZ at the Ray Mines Division where he held positions in accounting, operations, and maintenance.
In 1967 he relocated to Molycorp, Inc’s new open pit molybdenum mining operation near Taos, New Mexico. In 1969 he worked with Fluor Utah to design a computerized DCF-ROI program. He was instrumental in implementing an innovative cost accounting system as well as establishing a component rebuild and replacement system for the mining equipment.
Dewey became the General Manager in 1974. In 1976 he was promoted to VP of Mining and Exploration and transferred to the New York office. In 1977 Molycorp merged into Unocal Corporation. In 1979 he relocated to Unocal’s office in California, was promoted to President of Molycorp in 1985 and to VP of Carbon and Minerals in 1991 with responsibilities for world-wide mining and exploration, graphite operations in Texas, operations and marketing of Unocal’s calcined coke, green coke, needle coke and solvents.
He was the principal liaison for Molycorp in their partnership with the world’s largest niobium mine in Araxa, Brazil. Molycorp was also the only producer of primary rare earths in North America from its mine in Mountain Pass, California.
He retired in June of 2000, bought a 47-foot cutter rigged sloop and sailed it from Ft. Lauderdale to Trinidad in 2001 and back in 2002. Since that time, he and Lynne have been sailing around the world a few weeks every year.
Dewey was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Mining Association and the National Mining Association from 1986 to 2000. He has been a member of SME since 1969 and has served as the Los Angeles section chairperson. He is a founding member of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, a member of the Mining and Minerals Education Foundation and The Mining and Metallurgical Society of America.
In 2015 he and his wife Lynne started a foundation at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona.
Edson R. McCord
Caterpillar, Retired Electric Drive Truck Expert
2023 Medal of Merit Recipient
Edson R. McCord was born and raised in Rhinebeck, New York where he first became interested in earthmoving machinery. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1971 and pursued a Master of Science degree from New York University School of Engineering before going to work for International Harvester in 1973. He also was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in Engineering Technology from the Wentworth Institute of Technology.
For the next 20 years, McCord was actively engaged in the development, sales, marketing and manufacturing of construction equipment. This included seven years in France where he managed Dresser Industries’ subsidiary for design, manufacturing and support of hydraulic excavators.
McCord’s mining career began in 1994 when he was appointed president of Komatsu’s Haulpak division in Peoria, Illinois. Komatsu’s position as the leading supplier of electric drive mining trucks was strengthened through the development of new 200 and 240-ton trucks as well as the introduction of the 930E, the world’s largest truck at 320 tons and the first AC drive truck. To this day, the 930 is the market leader in the 320-ton class. He was also instrumental in Komatsu’s leadership position in trolly assist systems and was an early proponent of autonomous haulage.
In 2004, McCord joined Caterpillar to lead their mining truck business and develop electric drive trucks to complement Caterpillar’s mechanical drive product line. During his 10 years at Caterpillar, new mechanical drive models were introduced in the 150, 200, 240 and 400-ton classes along with 320 and 345 electric drive models. He was also responsible for Caterpillar’s trolley assist program, LNG alternatives to diesel power and Caterpillar’s autonomous haulage system program.
Upon retirement in 2014, McCord was Director, Surface Extraction and Haulage with responsibility for Caterpillar’s hydraulic mining shovels, electric rope shovels, draglines and trucks from 35 ton to 400 tons.
He and his wife, Anne, reside in Burlington, Wisconsin where he spends his time pursuing his hobbies of British sports cars and vintage automobile racing.
Mine Manager, Bagdad Freeport-McMoRan
2023 – MEDAL OF MERIT UNDER 40 RECIPIENT
Benny Corbell holds a B.S Degree in Mining and Mineral Engineering from the University of Arizona. He is an experienced Mining Engineer working in the mining & metals industry. Corbell has been a Professional Engineer (PE) since 2015.
Mining is in his blood growing up in Morenci, Arizona and as part of a large mining family. He is a 4th generation miner. Corbell graduated from Morenci High School. He was a two-time state wrestling champion in the 119 and 125 pound weight classes in the 1A-2A Division.
He graduated from the U of A ROTC program in 2009 and spent 10 years in the United States Army Reserve from 2004 – 2017. He served as a Human Resource Specialist, Signal Officer and ultimately as an Engineer Officer with the rank of Captain.
He joined Freeport-McMoRan in 2009 at the Morenci Mine as an Ore Control Engineer and held various positions until 2012 when he transferred to the Oro Valley Office working on Long Range Surface Mine Planning. He spent 6 months at the Henderson Mine in Colorado and transferred to the Sieritta Operations as a Geomechanical Engineer in 2013. He left Sierrita as a Senior Drill and Blast Engineer in 2017 and transferred to the Climax Mine in Colorado as Mine Operations Superintendent. In 2019 he moved to Bagdad Mine as The Chief Engineer and in 2021 was promoted to the position of Mine Manager.
Corbell, credits his success to gaining experiences while working at multiple sites, learning from talented leaders and coworkers, and having the support of his family. While working as an engineer, for example, he gained a clear vision around slope stability that focused on safety, developing appropriate dewatering plans, and optimizing blasting to help the team achieve maximum tonnage daily.
In his off time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three boys, visiting family, and hunting.