With an undergraduate degree in mining from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and a MSc in Mining Engineering from Queen's University, Robert Buchan went on to become one of the most influential figures in Canadian mining history.
In 1993, he founded Kinross Gold, a small gold mining company that he grew into the third largest primary gold producer in North America. After retiring as CEO of Kinross Gold in 2005, Mr. Buchan was one of the founders of Katanga Copper, the developer of one of the world's largest copper deposits. He was also instrumental in the formation of Allied Nevada, one of North America's largest gold deposits. Mr. Buchan retired from Katanga in 2007, and remains Executive Chairman of Allied Nevada.
In 2009, Mr Buchan made one of the largest gifts ever to Queen’s and the largest single gift to mining in Canada: $10 million. The funding was used to support students, faculty and programming. In gratitude for the gift, the Board of Trustees permanently re-named the department "The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining."