2020 Bill Dennis Award

This award, named for a former president of the association, honours an individual or team of explorationists who have accomplished one or both of the following: made a significant mineral discovery; made an important contribution to the prospecting and/or exploration industry.

Rudy Wahl 


RUDY WAHL PORTRAIT_250For his enduring perseverance as a prospector and for the discovery of several precious metal, diamond and rare earth occurrences in northwestern Ontario

Prospector Rudolf (Rudy) Wahl has made not one, but several significant discoveries in Ontario. A self-taught master of ore deposit models and exploration techniques, he has inspired others to pursue prospecting as a career and generously shared his knowledge of the craft. 

Prospecting has long been the lifeblood of mineral exploration, yet the skill often goes unrecognized because discoveries tend to be vended to public companies at the earliest stages of exploration. Known as one of the most productive prospectors in Ontario, Rudy has optioned more than 30 of his properties to companies eager to invest in further exploration. His discoveries represent a diverse range of commodities and deposit types, including gold, uranium, rare earth elements, diamonds and niobium. 

Born in Minden, Germany, Rudy spent eight years in the German army where he supervised the repair of military vehicles and tanks. He immigrated to Canada in 1988 and found work as a mechanical shop supervisor at the Dickenson gold mine in Ontario's Red Lake camp. He went on to become the mechanical leader at Barrick Gold's Williams mine near Hemlo and was promoted to a position managing continuous improvement at the operation in 2005.

In his free time, Rudy would take to the bush prospecting, mostly in the relatively unexplored Terrace Bay-Marathon-White River area. By 2008 he was ready to adopt the precarious life of a full time prospector. Through hard work and unlimited enthusiasm he beat the odds to achieve success. In 2012 the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association (NWOPA) presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Three years later, he received NWOPA's Bernie Schneiders Discovery of the Year Award for his discovery of niobium-phosphate mineralization in the Prairie Lake carbonatite complex northwest of Marathon. In August 2019, Plato Gold Corp. acquired a 100% interest in the discovery, now called the Good Hope niobium project. 

Rudy has contributed his time to the sector by organizing conferences, mentoring students, leading field trips, and fostering relationships with First Nations groups. For his exceptional accomplishments, he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Science from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in 2017. A year later, he was elected to NWOPA's Board of Directors, and in 2019 was elected to Vice President. 

Picture of an award

Skookum Jim Award

Hans Matthews

Picture of an award

Sustainability Award

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited’s Nunavut Community Relations, Education & People Development Team

Picture of an award

Thayer Lindsley Award

Firuz Alizade, Lidya Hod Maden Discovery

Picture of an award

Viola R. MacMillan Award

Touquoy/Moose River Mine Development Team