Timothy Nutt (1954-2003)
Timothy Nutt, one of Africa's foremost independent economic geologists, was killed in Eritrea on 12 April when he was mapping alone in the field. The circumstances of this tragedy remain unclear, but the Eritrean government has implicated Sudanese-backed terrorists.
Tim was born in the UK and grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), becoming a naturalized citizen in 1970. After obtaining his B.Sc. honours degree in 1977, and excepting a two-year spell of national service in the late 1970s, Tim's early career was spent at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), the Institute of Mining Research and the Zimbabwe Geological Survey, alternating periods of teaching, research and fieldwork. He obtained his MPhil degree at UZ in 1986. In 1989, Tim formed his own geological services company, and over the next 14 years he expanded the scope of his work beyond Zimbabwe, into many other countries in southern, eastern and west Africa. He was based in Harare until 2000, when the family moved to Wellington, South Africa.
Tim's success as a consultant derived not only from his deep knowledge of Africa's geology and mineral deposits but also from his unique blend of first-rate field skills, strong technical/research capabilities and a highly practical approach to the business aspects of exploration and mining. His expertise was so well known that from the early 1990s he was commonly the first port of call for junior companies interested in investing in the local mining sector. But, although his strongest associations were undoubtedly with Zimbabwean geology and with gold deposits, the range of his interests and expertise was enormous, spanning virtually all commodity groups.
Throughout his busy career, Tim always found time to serve the wider geologic and mining communities through a steady stream of trade and academic publications and through active roles in a variety of organizations, notably the Zimbabwe Geological Society, and the SEG, for whom he served as current Africa regional correspondent, a position he had filled since 1997.
The geologic community in southern Africa has lost one of its best-known personalities, and one of its most active operators. Tim's untimely death has left everyone who knew him with a deep sense of shock, and has created a void in our lives that will be impossible to fill. Tim is survived by his wife, Jacquie, and his children, Jennie and Michael.
— Brian Thomson (SEG 1993) | SEG Newsletter, Number 54, July 2003.