October 2019

Obituary: Dr Anthony Richard ‘Tony’ Norman

  • By Russell Penney FAusIMM, Doug Brewster, Phil Uttley and Guowei Xu


Dr Anthony Richard ‘Tony’ Norman

Tony Norman, a well-known and respected international exploration consultant and expert structural geologist, died suddenly and unexpectedly at his Melbourne home in May. Born and raised in Sydney, Tony embodied a strong family ethos and displayed much energy, practicality and intellect in everything he pursued. Like many of his peers, Tony developed his love of being in the outdoors as a Boy Scout: fishing, bushwalking and mountaineering were lifelong passions. 

This upbringing led to a career in geology and by 1981 Tony had earned a BSc (Hons) and MSc from the University of Sydney. Tony joined the university bushwalking club and walked throughout the Blue Mountains, and in later years scaled many peaks with friends: the remote mountains of Patagonia, the Cameron Hills of Fiordland, New Zealand, the Ruwenzori Mountains of East Africa and the wilds of South West Tasmania.

After university, Tony first worked at the NSW Department of Mineral Resources and then completed a PhD in 1991 at Macquarie University by undertaking a doctoral thesis on the structural geology of the Aruntas, Northern Territory.  

After returning from post-doctoral work in Canada in 1994, Tony worked with the Etheridge, Henley and Williams consulting group, based in Canberra, on international assignments, gaining experience in mineral exploration and an assignment at Porgera Mine.  In 1998, Tony joined Pasminco Exploration as a Principal Geologist for Project Generation in South America. He gained the nickname ‘Stormin’ working in Peru and Mexico searching for carbonate hosted and high-sulphidation base metal deposits. 

From 2001 to 2005 he worked with Placer Dome in Australia and China, mainly on geological modelling of gold resources. He then joined Sino Gold Mining in 2005, working on the geology of the Jinfeng mine in Guizhou Province, southwest China, where he helped to mentor and train the Chinese geology team.  He subsequently headed a Sino Gold–Gold Fields generative alliance exploring for intrusive-related gold-copper deposits throughout China, and the technical services unit at Sino Gold, until its takeover by Eldorado Gold Corp in 2009. Subsequently, Tony became a world-roving consultant, adding many destinations and projects to his experience.   

Tony was a redoubtable field geologist and mineral explorer; no amount of discomfort would restrain him from getting his hands on the rocks. His focus was always on the detailed geology and technical aspects of finding orebodies. Wherever Tony went to work he demonstrated a quiet energy, determination and commitment to the task at hand. Tony passed on a high degree of professionalism through his mentoring and patient training of many geologists that he worked with overseas; Tony developed many friendships which he continued to maintain. He remains highly respected by all his colleagues.

In addition to his mastery of geology and exploration, Tony was a polymath who enjoyed wide interests. He was a very keen and lifelong fisherman, having learnt the art as a boy on Sydney Harbour and the annual family holidays to Port Stevens. 

Tony enjoyed a great generosity of spirit with family and friends. He hosted his beloved mother Gwen, nephews and nieces on several grand international trips in recent years. He was a very gracious and generous host to friends with many of us given spare keys to his smartly restored inner city cottage, and many enjoyed salubrious stays. 

To those of us who knew Tony well his sudden and completely unexpected death has been a great shock. At his funeral ceremony he was surrounded by long-time family and friends with many different trades and interests he had embraced during his multifaceted, but also very geological, life.  

Ave Tony.

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