Obituary - Barry Smale-Adams OBE FREng FIMMM

Fellows' Lounge
6 Dec 2012

Kenneth Barry Smale-Adams was born in Zambia and educated at St
John’s College, Johannesburg, where he became Head of School and Captain
of the first rugby team. In 1950 he started his mining education at the
Camborne School of Mines (CSM) in Cornwall, gaining a First Class degree
and Associateship of the CSM. Barry was a keen sportsman and a fine
rugby player, who played for the CSM first team. 

In 1953, he joined Anglo American Corporation and in 1957 was appointed
Underground Manager at the Western Holdings Mine in Welkom, South
Africa. At 25, Barry was the youngest engineer in the corporation to be
appointed to that position. In 1960, he joined Associated Mines
(Malaysia) Limited where he rose to become General Manager of several
tin-mining operations. After a short period as Resident Mining Adviser
to the Hellenic Industrial Bank in Athens, in 1967 Barry joined Rio
Tinto Zinc Corporation to take charge of exploration and mining
development in Malaysia and Indonesia. Five years later, he was
transferred to RTZ Head Office in London as a Director of Rio Tinto
Finance and Exploration Ltd. He spent a further 15 years with Rio,
becoming consulting mining engineer in 1983. With his sharp mind he
excelled at negotiating complex issues. In 1987, he joined Robertson
Mining Finance and also became Chairman of Plateau Mining Plc, becoming
Chairman of Robertson Mining Finance Ltd the same year, and when the
company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989. He joined the
Board of Anglesey Mining plc in November 1989. 

Barry was a Fellow of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, a member
of Council, and President 1983–1984. He played major roles in the IMM,
never hesitating to speak out on occasions when he sensed a reluctance
to embrace necessary changes. In 1984, he was elected Chairman of the
Governors of the Camborne School of Mines where he oversaw major
projects such as a £40m Geothermal Project and the merger of the CSM
with the University of Exeter. Barry became a Fellow of the Royal
Academy of Engineering in 1983. He was awarded an OBE in recognition of
his major contributions to the mining industry and education. 

Barry was loved and respected as a people person: he gave much of his
time to helping people less advantaged than him on a one-to-one basis.
He is survived by his wife June, their three children, and six

Barry Smale-Adams OBE, FREng, FIMMM 
30 June 1932 – 21 February 2012