The Melbourne Mining Club Chairman’s Annual Letter

The Melbourne Mining Club welcomes in the new decade as the Australian mining and resources sector continues to drive the domestic economy, providing jobs, incomes and financial returns for investors and participants.

The way ahead is not without its challenges, but there is a vibrant feel to the mining sector in particular, as our companies drive strong export revenue and our gold producers build on more than a year of strong Australian dollar gold prices.

The Club’s outlook for 2020 is positive and your honorary Steering Committee has put together an exciting line-up of speakers for our 2020 Town Hall luncheon events, starting on Thursday 6 February with Peter Bradford, CEO of Independence Group. Peter has driven the emergence of Independence as a $3.7 billion market cap gold and base metals producer. Such has been the growth that it was only five years ago that he spoke at our Cutting Edge mid-cap afternoon series. That’s a big graduation!

Looking back on 2019, it was a year tinged with sadness at the passing in May of our founding Patron, Sir Arvi Parbo, pictured below with BHP’s then-CEO Andrew Mackenzie. Sir Arvi was a much-respected icon of the mining sector. He will be missed. At our recent December lunch, it was announced that Hugh Morgan AC and  Leigh Clifford AO had agreed to become the Club’s co-Patrons.

I was delighted to see a more diverse range of speakers and VIP guests at the Chairman’s Table in 2019, starting the year with Shell Australia Chair Zoe Yujnovich. Zoe told us some home truths about the outlook for Australia’s energy supply. We followed this with an innovative All-Star panel of speakers at our April lunch where the speakers tackled the future of financing Australia’s mining industry. We were delighted to hear from St Barbara’s then-CEO Bob Vassie in late May as gold became one of the better performing sectors. Bob surprised the sharemarket later in the year by announcing his retirement from executive duties.

The August event introduced the China-based CEO of CMOC, Li “Steele” Chaochun, to Australian investors. The company owns 80% of the NorthParkes mine in NSW and has been one of the more aggressive Chinese companies expanding in global mining in recent years. Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines addressed our October event and delivered a powerful speech on the Australian iron ore sector. FMG has had a big year on the ASX and strong leadership is certainly a big driver of the company’s success. Our final speaker for 2019 was Alumina chief Mike Ferraro who shone a light on a company which is a substantial part of Melbourne’s mining sector. Mike’s speech was the centrepoint of an event devoted to supporting the mining industry’s commitment to safety. He donned a special safety vest along with just about every member and guest at this amazing lunch. The event, supported by the WorkWear Group, also raised funds for mining charity Mates in Mining.

Our annual London dinner was again a feature of the calendar for the UK resources investment community. Held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Freeport-McMoRan legendary CEO Richard Adkerson addressed an audience of 550+ members and guests. The 2020 dinner is already shaping up as a ‘must attend.’

Photos from all these gatherings can be found on our website . Check it out. Our honorary photographer Paul Scott may have snapped a pic of you. Pics from the December “Safety First” event showed an impressive display of flouro!!

The Cutting Edge series was again a great success, attracting audiences of more than 200 to the Melbourne Town Hall. The vibrancy and enthusiasm of the sector was on show at these presentation series for small- and mid-cap miners and explorers. You can expect another big year from these presenters. They never fail to paint a picture of the exciting exploration and development phase of our mining industry.

Thank you to our sponsors, supporters, members and volunteers – including the hard-working honorary committee and our very supportive JV partners at the Minerals Council of Australia and the AusIMM – for 2019. Looking forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Richard Morrow
Chairman – Steering Committee
The Melbourne Mining Club