Australian mining industry mourns the passing of Sir Arvi Parbo

The Australian mining industry has paid tribute to Sir Arvi Parbo, a legend of the sector who passed away yesterday aged 93.

After arriving in Australia as a refugee from Estonia in November 1949, Sir Arvi began his mining career in 1956 as a surveyor at GWC’s Bullfinch gold mine in South Australia.

He quickly soared to become a giant of the industry, becoming managing director of Western Mining Corporation (WMC) in 1971.

His transformation of WMC increased capital, gold output 14-fold, while also introducing oil and gas exploration and production to the company’s portfolio.

Sir Arvi’s rise continued, becoming chairman of Alcoa of Australia from 1978 until 1996 and being appointed director and later chairman of Broken Hill Proprietary (now BHP).

Tributes have flowed in from mining industry bodies, praising Sir Arvi for his immense contribution to the resources sector.

“With his numerous achievements and his massive contribution to Australian business and society, Sir Arvi Parbo was not only a lifelong pillar of Australian mining but one of the people who created Australia as a prosperous economy and free society,” Minerals Council Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said.

Similar praise was given from Australian Resources and Energy Group (AMMA) where Sir Arvi was president from 1976-1978.

“He epitomised that generation that did so much to build the modern Australia. He was an outstanding example of the sort of entrepreneurs that the mining industry of Australia produced,” AMMA CEO Steve Knott said.

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