Australia’s world-leading minerals sector has paid tribute to Sir Arvi Parbo, a giant of Australian mining who died this morning aged 93.
Arriving in Australia in November 1949 as a refugee from Estonia, Sir Arvi Parbo started his career in Australian mining in 1956 as a surveyor at GWC’s Bullfinch gold mine north of Southern Cross in Western Australia.
His career ascent saw him become Managing Director of Western Mining Corporation in November 1971, adding Chairman to his title in October 1974.
During his time at WMC, capital increased enormously, nickel production trebled, gold output increased 14-fold, talc operations expanded, oil and gas exploration and production commenced, the Olympic Dam copper-uranium deposit was brought into production and Queensland phosphate operations were re-established.
Sir Arvi’s rise to greatness continued as Chairman of Alcoa of Australia Limited from 1978 until 1996 and being appointed a director of the then Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (now BHP) in August 1987 and later Chairman from May 1989 to May 1992.
He also served as Chair or Director of numerous insurance and financial sector companies and as a member of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation International Advisory Council. He was the inaugural President of the Business Council of Australia and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In more recent years, he served as Patron of the Melbourne Mining Club.
“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,” Ms Constable said.
“Australia’s minerals industry is indebted to this pioneer and visionary.”
Mr Everingham said Sir Arvi’s passing was sad news and a big loss to the Australian mining industry.
“As a former Chairman of Western Mining Corporation, Alcoa Australia and BHP, Sir Arvi was a hero of mining and a champion of innovation,” he said.