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Harry M. Conger III​
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Harry M. Conger was a great “role model” and strong advocate within Homestake Mining Company and among his industry peers on behalf of environmentally responsible, safe, profitable, and high-performance operations. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Conger was instrumental in revitalizing and rebuilding Homestake, once the largest gold company in the United States, into an industry leader in technological advances and environmental protection. Joining Homestake in 1975, he applied his extensive prior experience in copper and coal mining and steel in the United States and Canada to meet head-on the rapidly changing government regulations of the 1970s and 1980s. These changing regulations challenged Conger and his Homestake teammates to ensure that all of the Company’s new and existing operations met the new requirements and remained above reproach.​

In 1980, under Conger’s leadership, the McLaughlin Deposit in Napa County, California started development and became the largest gold mine in California history. In 1985, the McLaughlin autoclave oxidation plant became the first in the gold industry to profitably extract gold from complex refractory ores. Conger took great risk, including extensive and expensive research on the ores and construction materials, to ensure project success. The autoclave development was critical to project success, while at the same time satisfying the high expectations of its neighbors and of the environmental community working in a sensitive part of northern California. Following start-up, the McLaughlin Mine won great accolades for these efforts. The local community and even the Sierra Club commended Homestake for “exceeding their best expectations” in developing and operating McLaughlin.​

Homestake was already established in Australia during Conger’s tenure, but the acquisitions of the El Hueso gold project in Chile in 1988 and International Corona Resources, owner of the gold-rich polymetallic Eskay Creek deposit, in British Columbia, Canada in 1992 added significant and successful international projects to Homestake’s portfolio under Conger’s leadership. By expanding operations in Australia, South America, and Canada, Homestake went from being a leading American gold mining company to a highly successful international miner.​

Conger was born in Seattle, Washington, served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1955 and was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater and also from the South Dakota School of Mines. He served as Chairman of the American Mining Congress and received its Distinguished Service Award. The AIME recognized him for distinguished achievement with the Charles Rand Memorial Award. He led the development and is past Chairman of the World Gold Council, which now represents gold mine operators in over 50 countries. He was a leader in establishing the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and served many years as a Trustee. He is also a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology.​

Click here to visit Conger's oral history, which is preserved at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.