Ron’s long career has taken him to a number of major world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the Hong Kong handover.
Mining is in Ron’s blood. His grandfather WG Manners, the son of a Ballarat prospector, “headed to the west” in 1895 to set up a mining engineering business in Kalgoorlie. WG Manners & Co originally designed and built mining plants and has today evolved to be known as Mannwest Group, headed by Ron.
He started out as an electrical engineer, training at the Kalgoorlie School of Mines, and took over the family business from his father C. B. Manners in 1955. Croesus Mining was founded by Ron in 1986 and during his time with the company it produced 1.275 million ounces of gold and paid 11 dividends. Between 1972 and 1995 Ron floated several Australian listed mining companies, before joining the board of a Canadian company with operations in Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.
The mining industry has seen many changes in the past 126 years. Mannwest Group has been an enthusiastic participant in the introduction of new technologies during the growth and “booms and busts” of commodity prices. Ron has weathered these changes with humility, enthusiasm and good humour.
Ron is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (FAusIMM), and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD). In 2005 he was elected as a “Mining Legend” at the Excellence in Mining & Exploration Conference, and in 2010 was appointed to the Advisory Council for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Washington DC. In 2011 Ron was inducted into the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame as a “Living Legend.” He is an active member and on the co-ordinating committee for the Commonwealth Study Conference.
As a proponent of the free market model, Ron set up Mannkal Economic Education Foundation in 1997, a think-tank that has sponsored over 2500 students to study opportunities in both Australia and overseas.
In May 2020, Ron was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his “distinguished service to the minerals and mining sectors, and to youth through philanthropic support for educational initiatives.”
In August 2020 Ron was appointed to the board of the Mont Pelerin Society, an international economics-based group founded by F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and others in 1947.
In November 2020 Ron was presented with the Sir Antony Fisher Achievement Award by the Atlas Network and was honoured to be nominated for the 2021 WA Senior Australian of the Year Award. The below short video showcases the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation and Ron’s achievements (00:43).
Ron is the author of seven books – So I Headed West, Kanowna’s Barrowman, Never a Dull Moment, Heroic Misadventures, Poems of Passion, The Lonely Libertarian and Mannerisms (1985-2020) – as well as numerous papers and addresses, many of which can be found at mannwest.com
A tribute to Ron by Mannkal’s Executive Director Andrew Pickford can be read here.
The Next Eureka Moment
“Put some words
into the Eureka time capsule,” they said – Me? – who already has a headful of stuff each time I go to bed!
“If you’re still around
in two thousand and fifty four,” they said, “you’ll be on the invite list.”
Well, there was an invitation, I simply couldn’t resist! And so it got me thinking
about splitting two hundred years into four –
the last three groups of fifty years –
and the fifty yet in store –
Eighteen hundred and fifty four to nineteen hundred and four – discovery dividends declared before the banking crash, Australia finding its feet again –
brave moves were made – with some quite rash –
Then came the second quarter, 04 to fifty four,
when the very bad overwhelmed the best –
Two world wars and a depression made it
not just rough, but very tough for those who headed west –
1954 til now – bad start but hope towards the end – restrictive policies discouraged –
some cautious experiments were made,
and enterprise, to our surprise, was actually encouraged –
So the next quarter is the one for us to make a stance – and we’ll be in there fighting – Yes! We still have a chance –
Government’s lofty plans for us
conflict with our own plan –
so can we shape our future now?
with time and thought and confidence, I reckon that we can!
So when they dig the capsule up
in two thousand and fifty four,
I’ll come from the West, join Eureka’s best – and ready to write some more!
– Ron Manners
We are not in the exploration and mining business, that simply describes what we do. We are in the business of turning ideas into gold bars, profitably.Ron Manners