Frederick W. Bradley earned his place in history as one of the finest enterprising mining engineers the industry has known. From that day in 1887, when he established a record for low-cost gold mining at the Spanish Mine in Nevada County, he never looked back.
From 1886 to 1893, he established a reputation an efficient manager who’s ability to mine low grade concentrates at a cost of an astounding 65 cents per tonne making an impressive profit attracted considerable attention. Assuming managerial oversight for Bunker Hill Holdings in Kellog in 1893, Fredrick was one of a generation of college trained Mining Engineers, such as Hebert Hoover who dominated the economic development both in the United States and abroad.
The record he set then was destined to be broken only by himself, when he achieved an even greater feat at the Alaska-Juneau Mine. That achievement constitutes the biggest thing of its kind ever accomplished by a mining engineer. From a sad farce, Bradley brought the great low-grade lode of the Alaska-Juneau to splendid fruition.
Having convinced him to join Bunker Hill Mine, expecting initially a year contract, Friedrick went on to become the Bunker Hill President in 1897, a position he held for 37 years until his death in 1933. Having taken control of a debt ridden operation, whos future hanged in the balance due to labor uncertainity, questionable reserves and the 1893 depression glaring at him, Bunker Hill stood at crossroads having been a consistent disappointment to investors.
Through sheer will and dedication, he set out to change the company’s fortunes installing the first type of locomotives underground, electrical hoist systems, securing Bunker Hills reserves legacy as well as sorting out labor unrest.
He also helped develop California gold dredging, the Coalingua Oil Field and several low-grade mercury deposits in Nevada, California and Oregon. He was involved with hydro-electric research and the Tainton Process for purifying zinc. Mr. Bradley was a great philanthropist as well and a generous contributor to worthy causes.
In 1932, he was honored with the William Lawrence Saunders Gold Medal by the American Institute of Mining Engineers.
His tenure marked the end of Bunker Hill’s early period when leadership changed frequently and owners sought only quick profit.