We have received the sad news that Steve Barnett passed away last month following a long battle with prostate cancer. 

Some of you will remember Steve from his time on MinSouth Council, being our President in 2012/2013.

Steve graduated in Metallurgy from the Royal School of Mines in 1975 where he developed his interest in pyrometallurgy.  Extraction of nickel and nickel smelters became a constant thread in Steve’s career, during which he also worked on design, commissioning, operation and improvement of processes for copper, zinc and precious metals. Steve was a well-travelled individual working in many different location, and always clocking up far more air miles than most of his colleagues.

Following his student vacation job at INCO’s Nickel Mine in Thomson, Manitoba, he returned with a sample of concentrate and defined his own final year degree project.  On graduating he spent the early part of his career with Davy International in the UK as a process engineer and as Smelter Superintendent at Rustenberg in South Africa.  Joining Billiton in the Netherlands in 1981, he then spent 5 years as Chief Metallurgist at Cerro Matoso Nickel Laterite Mine in Colombia.  He returned to Billiton’s corporate offices in Leidschendam before moving to North Brabant in 1989 where he became Chief Metallurgist managing the jarosite smelter project at Budelco.  Steve’s career then returned to nickel and following the merger of BHP and Billiton, he became Vice President of Technology and HSEQC in the Stainless Steel Materials Division.  He was then appointed President and CEO of the Nickel Institute, based in Brussels for five years, before finally working as an independent consultant out of the UK and Australia.

Steve was an affable person, always having a positive outlook on life – he was a “glass half full” type of person.  A friend as well as a colleague to many of us in the mining industry – he will also be remembered for his characteristic laugh which always preceded him – you always knew when Steve was in the building!

He leaves behind him his wife Jane, daughter Sarah, son Andrew and three grandchildren.  Jane tells us she will be arranging some form of “celebration” when she is able to return to the UK from Australia for those wishing to attend.

Clive Hallett

MinSouth Hon. Secretary

December 2020

Steve with the Local Society of the Year Cup awarded to MinSouth at the 2013 IOM3 Awards Dinner