Kingsgate Consolidated managing director and long-lasting CEO Gavin Thomas passed away on June 4, 2014 in Sydney, Australia, at the age of 63 with his family by his side. Gavin was a brilliant geologist and a passionate advocate of the mining industry. He was declared a mining legend by his peers in 2005.
There are many notable achievements in Gavin’s illustrious career which spanned more than 40 years. These included pioneering large individual gold discoveries and building Kingsgate in to a multi-faceted mining business across three continents. Gavin will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues alike. Suzanne Blake compiled an obituary which was posted on the Sydney Mining Club website and much of which appears below:
Gavin Thomas was not only big in stature, he was a man with a big brain and a big heart. He also had the ability to discover enormous epithermal gold deposits. A brilliant geologist, Gavin Thomas loved mining. He also loved life and shared this enthusiasm and warmth with his family and friends and colleagues. He would walk into a room or meeting and fill it with his presence.
At the time of his death he was managing director and CEO of goldminer Kingsgate Consolidated. In March he announced that he would step down from that role in June but he was indefatigable. Even with deteriorating health he insisted on flying to a site meeting in Thailand in May.
Kingsgate’s chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk said Gavin’s contribution to the industry and in particular to Kingsgate, which he joined in 2004, was extraordinary in both dedication and discovery. “Gavin’s legacy to the mining industry goes well beyond Kingsgate. He had more than 40 years of experience operating throughout the world. Under his leadership Kingsgate evolved from a single operation in Thailand into a geographically diversified asset base.”
Gavin Thomas took Kingsgate from a single mine operation at Chatree in Central Thailand to a company with assets on three continents. He expanded Chatree, which has produced 1.5 million ounces of gold under his direction and became recognized internationally as the safest gold mine in the world. In Chile he advanced Kingsgate’s Nueva Esperanza silver/gold project to a DFS completed with positive results.
Gavin Thomas had a successful career developing mining companies from the exploration phase into mid-tier gold and/or copper production entities. He had international experience in exploring for, evaluating, developing, operating and reclaiming mines in North America, South America, Australia, the Southwest Pacific, Asia and Europe. He was respected and admired in the boardrooms of Australia, London, Switzerland and the US. He had an innate sense of adventure, an enormous capacity for hard work and all entwined with his love of travel. During his career he lived or worked in Papua New Guinea for 27 years - a country which he loved. Former administration and logistics officer for CRA Exploration Peter Symons was the first person to greet him when he stepped onto the airfield at Goroka in the PNG Eastern Highlands in 1970 to start his career as an exploration geologist. He had been head hunted by CRA’s personnel at university.
“He was a big boy with dark curly hair. I was struck by his quiet speech and placid nature. It was near lunch time and I asked if he would like to go to the Goroka Sports Club for a beer or go directly to the office. His reply confirmed that we had a good one,” said Peter Symons.
“A lot of his work was on foot with a line of carriers - it was hard going in the Eastern Highlands, but he handled it with quiet aplomb. It was a tough training ground. But when he was in town we spent time a lot of time together and he quickly became a noted performer in the food and drink division.”
Eminent finance columnist and former editor of The Bulletin Trevor Sykes recalls how in 2005 at a symposium Gavin Thomas was declared a Legend of the Australian Mining Industry. As such he was awarded a very comfortable Legend jacket, of which he was quite proud.
Trevor Sykes recalls how Gavin Thomas was a great supporter of the historic Lockheed Constellation rebuilt and maintained by HARS - Historical Aircraft Restoration Society based in Wollongong, NSW. When the Connie made its first flight from Wollongong to Kalgoorlie in 2005, Thomas was one of the passengers.
“The flight was notable in many ways. It was the first Connie to land in Broken Hill since Queen Elizabeth had arrived there 50 years before, so the aircraft’s arrival was greeted by a silver band. That night was spent imbibing the local carob beer at a dinner where the entertainment was provided by a ladies’ choir called Broken Hill Community Voices, singing old union songs. Their charm was such that Gavin Thomas and other assembled capitalists finished the night lustily bellowing The Red Flag and Solidarity Forever.”
Gavin Thomas was born on December 30, 1950, to Ken Thomas, founder of the trucking empire TNT and his geologist wife, Anne. He had two sisters Megan and Elizabeth and brothers Rody and Andrew. He is survived by his wife Barbara and their three daughters Ellen, Laura and Jenny, son-in-law Dr Tim Matthews and baby granddaughter, Imogen Anne.
You may like to leave a message of condolence in the Commemorative Guest Book via: http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/smh-au/gavin-thomascondolences/
The family has requested in lieu of flowers that any donations should be made to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, via http://supportus.flyingdoctor.org.au/donate