Charles E. Fipke

Charles Edgar "Chuck" Fipke CM (born 1946) is a Canadian geologist and prospector who discovered the existence of diamonds around Lac de Gras in Canada's Northwest Territories. He is now a multimillionaire involved in geological explorations around the world. Fipke is also a prominent owner and breeder in North American thoroughbred horse racing.

Charles E. Fipke

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
EducationUniversity of British Columbia (BSc.)
OccupationScientist and entrepreneur
Known forDiscovered Ekati Diamond Mine
Home townLondon, Ontario
Ekati Diamond Mine, 2010. Fipke is credited as a co-discoverer of the mine, and retained a 10% interest until 2014, which made him a very wealthy man.


Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research at University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus.

Fipke was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Growing up, he was sometimes assumed to be stupid because of his "frantic stop-start mind". His nicknames include Captain Chaos and Stumpy.[1] He occasionally stammers and is known for his use of the word "hey" at the end of sentences.[2]

In 1970, he graduated from University of British Columbia (UBC) with a bachelor of science degree in geology. Fipke received an honorary doctorate from Okanagan University College in 1998.[3]

In 2006, Fipke donated C$6,000,000 to UBC to support the creation of the Charles Fipke Centre for Innovative Research.[3] In 2012, the Fipke Laboratory for Trace Element Research (FiLTER) opened, with Fipke funding the purchase of imaging equipment including a scanning electron microscope. "To graduate excellent scientists, a university needs to have the best technology available," said Fipke. "My goal is to help UBC's Okanagan campus reach the leading edges of science, in order to recruit the top students and faculty from around the world."[4] Fipke has also donated substantially to Alzheimer's research at UBC.[2]

Fipke was divorced by his wife Marlene in 2000, who had been with him since he began searching for the diamonds. At the time, the divorce settlement was the largest in Canadian history, with her portion of the assets estimated to be approximately C$123,100,000.[5]


Upon graduation, Fipke worked for companies such as Kennecott Copper and Cominco, performing mineral explorations in locations such as Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Brazil.[6] He became an expert in the study of indicator minerals to identify potential strikes, the key to his later success. "Everyone now knows that G-10 garnets with low calcium might lead you to diamonds, hey," he said in 2011. "But how do you distinguish between a group 1 eclogitic garnet that grew with a diamond and a group 2 eclogitic garnet that didn't? They look the same." Fipke uses custom software to help determine the difference. "No one else out there can distinguish between these similar tiny particles of minerals that grow with a diamond and ones that don't."[1]

In 1977, Fipke founded CF Mineral Research, a heavy mineral and diamond exploration research laboratory.[3] In 1983, he founded Dia Met Minerals, which became listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange in 1984. Dia Met was sold to BHP Billiton in 2001.[7]

In 1988, Fipke and partner Stu Blusson began a systematic search for diamonds in the Northwest Territories, leading to the discovery of the first diamond pipe in North America in November 1991 near Lac de Gras. The Ekati Diamond Mine is now located there.[5][8][9] Fipke maintained a 10% interest in Ekati until 2014, when he sold his share to Dominion Diamond Corp. for US$67 million.[2] "I'm not really a miner," he said. "I'm an exploration geologist. This sale gives me more ability to do exploration."[7]

Fipke is currently involved in multiple greenfield projects, involving searches for diamonds in Ontario with Metalex Ventures, for gold in the Yukon, Nevada and Yemen with Cantex Mine Development and for uranium along the Manitoba–Saskatchewan border with Northern Uranium.[7]

Horse racingEdit

Fipke bought his first thoroughbred racehorse in 1981 and has subsequently become a significant owner and breeder. His major winners include:[10][11]

Fipke owns two farms in Kentucky where he houses roughly 75 broodmares. He breeds mainly to stallions Tale of Ekati, Perfect Soul and Jersey Town.[10]

Honours and awardsEdit

Fipke has received multiple honors, including:[6]

  • The Northern Miner's Mining Man of the Year (1992)[13]
  • PDAC's Prospector of the Year (1992)[14]
  • H.H. "Spud" Huestis Award for prospecting and mineral exploration (1997)[15]
  • Daniel C. Jackling Award for contributions to technical progress in mining, geology, and geophysics (2004)[16]
  • Robert M. Dreyer Award for outstanding achievement in applied economic geology (2005)[17]

He was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2013.[6]

Fipke's history forms a significant portion of the "narrative broth" from which author Kathy Reichs formed the plot of the novel Bones Are Forever.[18]


  1. ^ a b Hoffman, Carl. "How a Rogue Geologist Discovered a Diamond Trove in the Canadian Arctic". WIRED. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Nicolaou, Anna. "Fipke still looking for new diamond finds". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Mortenson, Bud (27 September 2006). "Charles E. Fipke Foundation gives $6 Million to establish new research centre at UBC Okanagan". UBC's Okanagan News. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  4. ^ Wellborn, Patty (26 October 2012). "UBC officially opens laboratory for trace element analysis and research". UBC's Okanagan News. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Doug Ashbury (2000-02-28). "Diamond divorce". Northern News Services. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2008-12-12. As a result of a divorce settlement, Mrs. Fipke, wife of geologist Chuck Fipke, will control about 21 per cent of Kelowna-based Dia Met Minerals. As of Thursday morning, the stake was worth $123.1 million.
  6. ^ a b c "The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Koven, Peter. "Life after Ekati: Legendary Canadian geologist Chuck Fipke gears up for more exploration". Financial Post. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  8. ^ "DIAMET MINERALS LTD". Worldwide Company Profile. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  9. ^ "The Story of Canadian Arctic™ Diamonds >". Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Bio of Charles Fipke" (PDF). Equibase. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Stakes Winners for Charles Fipke". Equibase. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-05-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Danielson, Vivian (31 December 2008). "The Northern Miner's 1992 "Mining Man of the Year" Charles Fipke". Republic of Mining. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  14. ^ "1992 PDAC Prospector of the Year Award Winner – Charles E. Fipke". Republic of Mining. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Awards - Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Daniel C. Jackling Award". Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Rober M. Dreyer Award". Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. Archived from the original on 20 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  18. ^ Reichs, Kathy (2012). Bones are forever : a novel (1st Scribner hardcover ed.). New York: Scribner. p. 286. ISBN 978-1-4391-0243-5. fipke reich bones are forever.

Further readingEdit

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