Charles Jacob Nicholas Jourdan, mining engineer, passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1895. He continued his studies at the South African College, Cape Town, and in 1898 passed the first mining examination. Two years later he was awarded the Diploma in Mining Engineering by the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1905 he passed the university's Survey Certificate Examination.
After the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, Jourdan was appointed as acting deputy inspector of mines, Johannesburg, from 1911 to 1913. In the latter year he contributed a paper on "The prevention of dust in development drives of mines during drilling operations" to the Transactions of the South African Institution of Engineers (1913, Vol. 1, pp. 259-294). He was again employed in the Department of Mines by 1919, serving as deputy inspector of mines for many years. His publications included "Iron ore in the Rustenburg District" (as co-author with A.L. Hall*; South African Journal of Industries, December, 1919); "The marketing of mica" (Ibid, 1925); "A brief review of the principal base mineral resources of the Union of South Africa" (Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1926); "Note of the chemical composition of crocidolite or Cape blue asbestos" (Ibid,1927); "Corundum" (Ibid, 1928); "Mica: The argument for an organised industry" (Official Yearbook of the Union of South Africa, 1927); and "Chromite in the Transvaal" (Official Yearbook of the Union and of Basutoland, 1933).
During the late nineteen-twenties Jourdan and Dr Percy Hall investigated the occurrence of raw materials for a prospective iron and steel industry in South Africa, including the iron ore deposits at Thabazimbi. In 1930 Jourdan was seconded to the South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation, Ltd. (Iscor) as superintendent of mines, with responsibility for all prospecting and development operations at Thabazimbi. Mining development started there in March 1931 and regular production in 1934. Jourdan was appointed as the first manager of the mine. He retired in 1947.
Jourdan became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1903, was still a member in 1906, but his membership had lapsed by 1911. He was married to Sophia Maria Jourdan, born Moller, with whom he had a son and a daughter.