MRM General Manager Sam Strohmayr is a man with his roots very firmly planted in the Northern Territory.
His parents met and married in Katherine, he worked his first day as a graduate engineer here and the call of the Top End – and MRM – have brought him back time and time again.
His career is inexorably linked to the development of the mine, with his first job out of university in the K crew at MRM back in February 1995.
"It was a great time to be here," says Sam, who has worked his way up from graduate engineer to General Manager.
"The job had lots of appeal. It was a difficult start up, so we were given the opportunity to take lots of responsibility. It has always been a great place to work and I've made a lot of good mates – mates for life.
"Working seven days on and seven days off, I had a lot of time to travel around. I guess along the way I fell in love with the Territory."
Sam's career has taken him all over the world including Portugal and Argentina as well as several stints at Ernest Henry Mine near Cloncurry, where he met his wife Sally.
"I remember very clearly when she started as an environmental scientist," Sam says.
"I was often asked to show new people around the site. It wasn't a job I enjoyed – but Sally got the best and most comprehensive tour that anyone ever had."
In 2001, the call of the Territory brought him back again, with both Sam and Sally returning to the Top End and MRM. Other than a short stint in Portugal in the mid 2000s, Darwin has remained their home since then.
"I had the opportunity to go to Portugal to start up a mine that had been mothballed for some time. Along came the GFC in 2008 and we closed it down, so I saw the whole life cycle of the mine," he said.
"That showed me first hand that we have an obligation to the community around us. We had people going from being engineers on site to working in the supermarket overnight. It's important to think about what our legacy is going to be."
That's one of the reasons he is determined to get to know the people of the Gulf Region and learn their aspirations as he goes about positioning MRM for the future.
"MRM has a long and sustainable future but there will come a time when the resource is no longer there. It's important that we get the plan for this right," he says.
For now, Sam is enjoying the challenges of running a mine on the cusp of becoming a world-class resource while spending time with Sally and their three daughters in their Troppo home in Parap.
He says it's the people at MRM and in Darwin that will keep him here for some time.
"I can't see myself living anywhere else. I love the weather and I love the people," he said.