Bill Dodds general manager of Copper Mountain Mine received a special email last week. CEO and president of Copper Mountain Mine, Jim O’Rourke has been chosen as a recipient of the Order of British Columbia. “Fourteen British Columbians who have contributed to the province in extraordinary ways will be awarded the Order of British Columbia, Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point, Chancellor of the Order, announced.”
“The Order of British Columbia recognizes the excellence and achievements of our citizens. It is the highest honour we can bestow on individuals in our province,” said Point.
“All of us at Copper Mountain Mine are very pleased to hear of Mr. O’Rourke’s recent news,” stated Dodds. “Jim’s efforts in mining development for our province have been remarkable. He has over the past several years demonstrated strong leadership in the development of the Copper Mountain Mine project and we, all the employees here at the mine and myself, would like to congratulate Jim on this occasion.”
The recipients are selected through a review process which includes a list of many worthy public nominations. O’Rourke with receive his award for the Order of B.C. at an investiture ceremony held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria on Oct. 4, 2011.
“For 35 years, James O’Rourke has been one of B.C.’s leaders in mine evaluation, financing development, marketing and mining operations in British Columbia,” stated the official press release. “The many projects he has been connected with have created thousands of jobs.
“Mr. O’Rourke was born in Prince George and is a graduate of UBC,” continued the official press release. “He is president and CEO of Copper Mountain Mining Corp., which has recently placed the $440 million open pit copper mine in production near Princeton. Mr. O’Rourke worked at many of B.C.’s premier mining projects, including the Endako mine near Fraser Lake, the Gibraltar mine near Williams Lake, the Huckleberry and Equity Silver mines near Houston, Quinsam Coal on Vancouver Island and Similco Copper mine near Princeton. Through connections with Japanese mining interests, he has fostered relations with Pacific Rim partners. Mr. O’Rourke led initiatives to improve public facilities in these communities, such as swimming pools, curling rinks and arenas. He was a leader in projects such as Mining for Miracles, which raises funds for the BC Children’s Hospital, and Fishing for Kids, which raised money for children’s charities.”
O’Rourke was at Copper Mountain on Monday and said, “I was very surprised when I found out about it. I had a lady call me and I had no idea what she was talking about. It wasn’t until I went home and talked to my wife that I was filled in. I am really appreciative of the people who nominated me. Really, the reward is a tribute to many people’s efforts.”
O’Rourke’s time spent in the communities he worked was very productive. “Liz and I have four children,” stated O’Rourke, “and we had them in everything. We wanted them to have lots of opportunities and we were very supportive of community development. We were in Fraser Lake when the curling rink was built which was the start to their community recreation centre. I helped scavenge equipment from the mine for excavation work for the Fraser Lake golf course and for a ski hill in the ‘60’s in Williams Lake. As part of the recreation committee in Williams Lake, O’Rourke was also instrumental in the development of the Sam Ketcham Pool there which was named after a friend who died in a helicopter crash.
O’Rourke’s children are all grown up now. Oldest son Joc is a mining engineer. Kelly is a metalurgic engineer, Dana is an accountant and Riley is a graphic designer. There are nine grandchildren in the mix and between his job, family and volunteer efforts, O’Rourke has had a dynamic impact on B.C. communities. Even this year with Copper Mountain Mine just at the beginning of its new life, O’Rourke has encouraged fundraising efforts for Childrens Hospital. “We have raised about $70,000 this year with the help of our employees,” he said. “Childrens Hospital has treated children from many of our mining families over the years. It is a great cause and one we will continue to support.”