Having a positive and proactive PNG Mining Minister and a government that supports mining makes all the difference to the economic wellbeing of PNG according to returned ADS scholar Mr Anthony Smare.
Thirty-two year old Mr Smare, General Manager, Corporate & Legal with Barrick PNG Limited (which owns 75 per cent of and manages the Porgera Gold Mine), studied in Australia in the 1990s under both the Secondary Schools Scholarship Program and as an ADS student.
“The mining industry in Papua New Guinea is well-regulated”, he said. “This is because of the rigorous standards imposed by successive governments.” And Barrick, the world’s largest gold miner, takes its regulatory and public compliance responsibilities very seriously, according to Mr Smare.
“There are tremendous opportunities for mining here in PNG”, Mr Smare said. “Only one-third of PNG has been explored for mineral resources, and we’re now experiencing a mining exploration boom due to higher commodity prices and assisted by strong support from the National Government and the present Mining Minister, Hon. Sam Akoitai.”
Mr Smare’s wife, Emma Tsora Smare is also a former ADS and SSSP scholar, having studied at Brisbane’s Stuartholme Girls College and Townsville and South Brisbane Institutes of TAFE. Mrs Smare, together with her father-in-law Arnold Smare, oversee the Smare family’s large property portfolio and other business interests. They have two children.
Following studies to Year 10 at Brisbane’s Marist Brothers College, Mr Smare won a SSSP secondary scholarship which allowed him to continue his studies in Australia. Following successful Years 11 and 12, he returned to do his first year of law studies at UPNG – ironically, given his current position, sponsored by the Porgera Joint Venture.
After outstanding results in first year law at UPNG, Mr Smare won a 1994 Sir John Crawford (ADS) scholarship to study at Queensland University of Technology for double degrees in Bachelor of Applied Science (Geology) and Bachelor of Law. It was during his five years at QUT, that Mr Smare was instrumental in establishing the PNG student organisation, the Kumul Scholars International. He played a leading role in the relief efforts in Australia for the 1998 Aitape tsunami disaster.
After graduating in 1998 and a short period of industrial training as a well-site petroleum geologist with Santos, Mr Smare spent five years at the Melbourne office of Australian-mega lawfirm, Allens Arthur Robinson as a corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions, and mining and petroleum lawyer. “It was great experience – a large law firm where billion-dollar multi-jurisdictional deals were commonplace and regular sleep was not”, he said. ”But I was missing home and my family, and came back in 2003 with my fiancé, to AAR’s PNG office eventually becoming an equity partner.”
Although enjoying his time with AAR, Mr Smare wanted to use his resources-related qualifications and experience in a more meaningful way, so in October 2005, he agreed to join Placer Dome Niugini Limited (as Barrick PNG Limited was then known) as General Manager – Government Relations, replacing Dr Ila Temu who had had been appointed Placer Dome’s Country Manager for its Tanzanian operations.
As a result of the acquisition of Placer Dome Inc by Barrick early this year, forming the world’s largest gold miner in the process, and subsequent restructuring, Mr Smare’s role was expanded to General Manager – Corporate & Legal. Dr Temu also returned to PNG as Barrick’s Country Manager for PNG.
“My role as GM Corporate & Legal is to manage relationships of Barrick with key PNG stakeholders such as the PNG Government and key players in the PNG economy, manage legal risk and compliance, and assist generally the sustainable and positive growth of Barrick’s business in PNG. This role also involves investigating business opportunities for gold mining within PNG”, he said.
Apart from his job and related responsibilities as director of Barrick’s subsidiary companies in PNG, Mr Smare also sits on the boards of Telikom PNG Limited and AFLPNG Limited, and has been appointed to the board of the newly incorporated Wau MicroBank Limited. He also leads the Kumul Foundation Inc. He regards these roles as important opportunities to give back to PNG.
Before rushing off to catch his plane for Washington DC and even more company meetings, Mr Smare said: “The ADS program gave me the great opportunity to earn law and geology degrees in Australia, and without these qualifications I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, hopefully making a meaningful contribution to the development of PNG.”