Member of the month: Barry Upton

Member of the month: Barry Upton

RUC Managing Director, Barry Upton, celebrates 40 years in the mining industry this year.

Starting out as an airleg miner, studying at WASM and working his way up through supervisory and executive roles and ultimately the top job, he is known to many as an expert in his field.   

Barry’s focus has always been underground, working for contractors, Eltin, Byrnecut, Thyssen Mining Construction Canada and now RUC, where he is Managing Director and has worked for the past 13 years.

“As the Managing Director of RUC, I have the responsibility for the whole of the business domestically and internationally,” he said.

“Shaft sinking in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Mongolia” and “learning Mongolian culture” are a some of the more interesting challenges he has tackled in the past 40 years.

Barry expanded the RUC business in Indonesia by taking the team from “13 employees to 1,300 whilst dealing with the challenges of the location and cultural background of our employees”.

He considers the rapid growth of mining contracting domestically and embedding quality and safety into mechanised mining operations to set global benchmarks for productivity and efficiency, as among the most important projects he has been involved in, using Byrnecut Mining as an example.

As a long-time supporter and partner of the WA Mining Club, Barry says “the strong membership of WAMC provides good access to the monthly luncheons and opportunities to catch up with old mates and colleagues”.

He says mining has taken him to some exotic parts of the world including the Papuan Highlands and Gobi Desert.

Asked what he would change about the world if given the chance, he said “improve empathy”.

“We lack empathy on the whole; with empathy comes respect and understanding. We shouldn’t judge people or countries without understanding the motivating factors that influence individuals’ behaviours,” he says.

“Also, encouraging the world to understand that with wealth comes environmental stewardship. Mining is good for the environment because it creates wealth which is then used to improve the way we interact and preserve the environment.”

Barry has undoubtedly had an exciting journey but there is nothing he enjoys more in his spare time then playing some golf, fishing, gardening, attending a footy game or spending quality time with his loved ones.