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Ratledge, James Philo ("Jim")

Category: TCL Management and Staff Date of Birth: ???? Date of Death: 1998

An accomplished mineral dressing engineer and metallurgist, James Philo (Jim) Ratledge was born in Canada and, while he obtained early mill experience at the Bralorne Mine in British Columbia, he worked for some time as a school teacher.  In 1936 he moved to South Africa to work in one of the Witwatersrand gold mines, and then relocated to Kenya in 1938 to work at the Macalder copper-gold mine.  He used his earnings from his working in Kenya to pay for his degree course in metallurgy in 1946, and then joined the staff of the newly formed Tsumeb Corporation in 1947. (Ramsey, 1973.)

Ratledge was a senior manager in the Tsumeb Corporation from 1948-1977 and, in the early years, was instrumental in the establishment of the Tsumeb copper and lead smelter plants. He was a founder member and first president (from 1969 until 1971) of the Association of Mining Companies of South West Africa. On his retirement in 1977 he took to crop farming in the Kombat area. His last years were spent at Somerset West in South Africa, where he died on March 20, 1998.

The photograph shows Jim Ratledge (standing, at left) accompanied by Messrs Marcus Banghart (seated) and Charlie Stott, both also general managers at Tsumeb during the 1940s and 50s.

Image courtesy of the Tsumeb Museum, Tsumeb, Namibia.

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