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Associated Alumni

Distinguished alumnus inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

(Steve Vaughan, left, with Ed Thompson, treasurer of the CMHF. Photo credit: Keith Houghton Photography)

With his unique knowledge of both geology and law, William Stearns (Steve) Vaughan Jr. (BSc’59, BCL’65, LLD’14) is one of Canada’s leading experts in mining law.

Currently practising as an independent lawyer, Vaughan advises industry and governments in more than 65 countries on mineral policy, mineral strategy, mining taxation, mine finance and nuclear issues. His expertise has benefitted countless clients involved in resource development and strengthened the legal administration of the global minerals industry. He has also helped to develop new mines across the world, particularly in Mongolia, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.

This month, Vaughan was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. The organization was created to honour Canadians who have made a significant contribution to the Canadian mining industry.

“Canada has the largest and most technological mining industry in the world and Canadians are world leaders in mine exploration and development,” says Vaughan. “This expertise has been exported around the world and in many cases, is helping developing countries raise their standards of living by monetizing their mineral endowments. I am proud to be a part of this growing industry and am honoured to join an esteemed rank of mining professionals.”

Recognized for his legal skills and ethics, Vaughan is also the recipient of the highest peer review rating awarded to a lawyer by Chambers and Partners and Martindale-Hubbell “the gold standard in attorney ratings.” He’s put these skills into practice negotiating agreements not only for mining projects, but for the oil and gas, geothermal, coal bed methane and nuclear industries.

Originally from Fredericton, N.B., Vaughan obtained a bachelor of science in geology from UNB in 1959 and went on to receive a master of geology from McGill before returning to UNB for his law degree in 1965. Bar certified in Ontario in 1967, he has practiced law in the province for the majority of his career.

Vaughan is also mentor to numerous lawyers from around the world, giving them a deeper understanding of how the mining industry works.

“Many mining lawyers understand the mining laws in their countries, but they don’t all understand the science and engineering behind minerals or the scientific principles used by the mining industry,” he says. “Lawyers with an understanding of both the legal and geological complexities of disputes, in my opinion, are better positioned to serve their clients. I teach them how to meld the science and law.”

Throughout his illustrious career, Vaughan has donated his time and expertise to UNB. As an informal advisor, he’s identified new areas of study, including economic geology. His generous financial support to the university, with significant contributions to the Ken Vaughan Memorial Bursary in civil engineering, honouring the memory of his late brother, and the faculty of law Heritage Fund, have impacted students across the Fredericton campus.

In 1994, he was the first recipient from the faculty of science to receive the Alumni Achievement Award. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from UNB in 2014, for his truly exceptional national and international achievements and reputation in the field of mining law – as well as his outstanding dedication to his alma mater.

Read Steve Vaughan's CMHF citation. 

Back to Alumni News Direct - January 2017