A PROMINENT former Mount Isa man has been honoured in today’s national Australia Day Awards.
That man is Steve de Kruijff who received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the awards announced today.
Mr de Kruijff now lives in the Byron Bay hinterland but part of his heart remains forever in Mount Isa, as he grew up here and was a major contributor to Mount Isa Mines over the years.
Mr de Kruijff won the OAM for services to the mining industry and the community and he told the North West Star he was honoured and humbled to win the award.
“It was a complete surprise to get the letter in the post,” Mr Kruijff said.
Mr de Kruijff said the OAM was as much an honour for Mount Isa as himself and he wanted to reassure residents the city had a bright future.
“I remain passionate about Mount Isa and in my role I was able to help many people in the community,” he said.
“The city is going through a tough time now in a low point in the minerals cycle but that will change and Mount Isa will be very strong again.”
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady said he was delighted to hear the news of the award and Mr de Kruijff was a deserving recipient.
“He was the son of a migrant who climbed the ladder but never lost the common touch,” Cr McGrady said.
“He stood out like a beacon for all the work he did for Mount Isa.”
Mr de Kruijff was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Xstrata's (later Glencore) North Queensland Copper Division from 2006 to 2014 and is on the board of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
He said he had a long career journey.
“I was an apprentice electrician after I left school then I moved into a geological field before luckily the mines considered me for a management role,” he said.
He stood out like a beacon
He ended up running Mount Isa Mines copper division and also Ernest Henry mine near Cloncurry before being made COO.
Though he left in 2014 he still runs a mining and geological consultancy with his wife in Northern NSW with a surprising sideline business – making coffee.
“We roast our own coffee beans for sale in local businesses,” he said.