Bob Bryan AM, a geologist who worked extensively in outback Queensland and Western Australia early in his career, has had a long term involvement in the property and mining industries in Australia and South East Asia. In 1983 Bob founded Pan Australian Mining Ltd (now the $740 million Pan Australian Resources) and, as Managing Director, oversaw the development of a major gold mine at Mr Leyshon, near Charters Towers. He was also Chairman of Highlands Pacific, a mineral explorer in Papua New Guinea.
Bob is also a founding Director of the Sustainable Minerals Institute and the Bryan Research Centre within the University of Queensland. However, Bob achieved unparallelled success in the role of founding chairman for the Queensland Gas Company. An article, “I’m Going Sailing”, in The Deal, DEC 2008, is vintage Bryan.
“The trick was to find thick coal seams where the gas could accumulate… from years of drilling in the Surat Basin… I knew of a number of drilling rigs that had caught fire after encountering gas. Safety procedures were pretty rudimentary then. The drillers would smoke when it took their fancy. Up would come the gas, and bang went the rig. We identified where half a dozen rigs had been lost over the years. It was a rather crude prospecting tool, but it worked.”
Bob formed a partnership with Dick Groves, a consultant geologist and his partner Bob Bell, and after a shaky start (‘far more ideas than money’), Bob snaffled former power wunderkind Richard Cottee as MD. The rest – the company’s stellar rise from a market cap of less than $20 million to $5.6 billion in eight years to become a leading seam gas producer in Queensland – is, as they say, history.
Bob’s private company, Leyshon Pty Ltd is now focussing on property funds management, investment and development.