Donation of nickel mine could mean fortune for Purdue

A retired investment adviser has donated a stake in a Canadian nickel mining operation to Purdue University that could eventually produce a huge sum of money for the school.

Allyn Knoche, a 1956 Purdue graduate, donated a 1 percent stake in a mine owned by FPX Nickel, a Vancouver-based company. Revenue from that share will be divided equally between Knoche’s son, his stepson and Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, in a charitable trust managed by the Purdue Research Foundation.

Krannert, which is Purdue’s business school, will receive the son’s and stepson’s shares when they die.

Knoche, 91, said that based on current numbers—and an assumption that the mine in British Columbia starts operating within several years—Purdue’s stake could eventually top $100 million over the next three decades.

“There’s no question that the ore is there,” said Knoche, a retired stock broker and investment adviser who lives in Arizona.

According to Purdue’s figures, which are based on Knoche’s numbers and FPX’s estimates, the mine could produce more than 90 million pounds of nickel each year, turning out nickel for stainless steel and the growing market for battery-powered vehicles.

“I was looking for something where it would help. … Purdue seems like it can make pretty good use of it,” Knoche told the Journal & Courier.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said he has high hopes for the mine’s future.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m watching the nickel prices on the commodities market with great interest these days,” he recently told the school’s trustees.

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