The Diggers and Dealers conference is a big event on the mining industry calendar. Held in Australia’s unofficial gold capital, Kalgoorlie, it’s a chance for mining and exploration company directors, brokers, bankers, investors, financiers and others in mining service industries to catch up and chew the fat. Ron opened the conference in 1996.
We have just completed our most productive financial year in the company’s 10 year history. But let me observe that it is becoming extremely difficult for any of us in this industry to make decisions. Would you believe Kalgoorlie has been Australia’s mining capital for 103 years and we still can’t work out what the rules of the game are?
We are busy trying to understand the unworkable Native Title Act which does not even give us a definition of what it means by ‘native title’. This act is adversely affecting the very people that it is supposed to assist. This ill-considered legislation is having the same effect as similar Canadian legislation, resulting in Canadian companies exploring everywhere in the world – except Canada.
We still haven’t managed to get this message through to our Prime Minister or to parliament. They still don’t realize that exploration dollars and people are extremely portable. Without some prompt action from Canberra, all Australians will be poorer as a result of our exploration going elsewhere. The mining industry also objects to Canberra’s efforts through the Native Title Act to shift this entire welfare burden on to the mining industry. Please let us stick to mining and generating some urgently required export earning income for the nation. We have also been busy waiting for our federal government to decide whether or not to tax our diesel fuel to a level which will make it 60 per cent more expensive than in other competitor countries.
In short, we are so busy finding our way around all these obstacles that I’m amazed that we managed to do any exploration and mining at all. However, what we have done we’ve done well and profitably. Croesus has again emerged with a strong year of profitable growth. Each year, even against these odds, we’ve produced growth for our shareholders to match our vision for the future.
Last year in January, working with our management team, I set out to form a strategic alliance with an internationally-based group so that Croesus would be less reliant on me as one individual and less reliant on political uncertainties of access to land in Australia. This has resulted in an excellent working relationship developing with our largest shareholder, Eldorado Gold Corporation Canada. Eldorado has operating goldmines in Mexico and Brazil, with scheduled mines in Turkey and advanced exploration programs in Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
In turn, Eldorado’s largest shareholder is Gencor of South Africa, the world’s fifth-largest gold producer. Eldorado has in place a clear strategy to increase its gold production from 165,000 ounces to one million ounces over the next five years. A much larger Croesus is part of this expansion. Another Eldorado director has just relocated to Australia to assist in our climb up the ladder of success.
Croesus is dedicated to profitable growth and if the political obstacles from growth in Australia persist, we’ll have to expand the company’s growth in to other countries. The members of our team are eminently suited to the task of expanding our company into profitable new areas so don’t take your eyes off us over the next few years.