Peter Vipan CEng FIMMM (Obit)
Peter Vipan CEng FIMMM, who died in November 2008 five days after his 87th birthday, was for 35 years Mining Manager at Laporte Industries. He served on the Council of the former Institution of Mining and Metallurgy from 1969-80 and was Vice-President of the Institution from 1977-80.
Education and early career
Peter was born in South India where his father worked as a Civil Engineer. He was educated at Sherborne School and entered Imperial College London as a mining student in 1940. After graduating with a First Class degree in 1944, followed by a brief period in opencast coal mining near Sheffield, he was employed at Champion Reef Mine in the Kolar Goldfield where, due to staff shortages, he quickly found himself in charge of a section of the mine with 300 men 7,000ft below ground. In the 1940s these mines were the deepest in the world.
He returned to England in 1948 to become manager of a small barytes mine near Exeter that was taken over by Laporte Industries in 1950. As Laporte’s specialist mining engineer, his subsequent career covered barytes mining in Devonshire and Westmoreland, fuller’s earth extraction in Surrey, bauxitic clay in Ayrshire, and titanium mineral prospecting in Nyasaland (now Malawi), Africa. In 1964, Peter moved to Derbyshire to take charge of Laporte’s fluorspar mining operation near Eyam, where he worked until he retired in 1983.
Peter was a keen sportsman who excelled at cricket and rugby, enjoying golf in his retirement. He continued to live in Eyam where he was widely respected for his contributions to the local community. To his colleagues, workmen and many friends he was always the perfect gentleman. He married Sheila in 1957 – she survives him, together with their children Robert and Laura, and their families.