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John Howard addresses Diggers & Dealers

Mining industry shouldn’t apologise: John Howard

The 2019 Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder kicked off on an unusually political note.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard delivered a wide-ranging keynote address to one of the busiest forums in the past decade.

He shared his views on industry identities, in-favour commodities and the China-versus-United States battle for global dominance. All of this was interesting and insightful, but it was his strong and repetitive message for the industry to be unapologetic about its contribution to the nation in the face of “climate change zealots” that perhaps resonated the loudest.

Mr Howard said the forum took place at an interesting time for the broader mining sector. While there were many signs that provided great cause for hope and optimism, some areas of the resources sector remained under attack.

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He said what disappointed him as a former Prime Minister was: “The way we have allowed arguably the great success story for the Australian economy to be put under attack…you are almost asked to apologise for its existence and worry about its future.”

“I talk of course of the constant attacks in the name of climate change zealotry on sections of your industry, particularly the coal mining industry. There seems to be a collective determination in some sections of the Australian community to vilify what we do best.”

Mr Howard also took the opportunity to reinforce the role the mining industry played in the salvation of the Australian economy post the global financial crisis.

“There are a number of reasons why this country dodged the bullet, so to speak, at the time of the global financial crisis – one of them was the superb economic conditions – but more importantly of course was the contribution of the resources sector,” Mr Howard said.

“It perplexes me in another way that the two institutions in a collective sense that helped us through those difficult days were the mining industry and, dare I say it, the major banks in Australia.

“In 2009 there were only 11 banks around the world that had triple A credit ratings and four of those banks were Australian.”

Mr Howard’s address set the stage for what promises to be a busy and engaging Diggers & Dealers. More than 2000 attendees have headed to the heart of the Goldfields and will hear from 35 more presenters over the next two days, including the likes of Fortescue Metals Group, Roy Hill, Gold Road Resources, AngloGold Ashanti, Lynas Corporation and Gold Fields Australia.

Michael Cairnduff is a Director in Cannings Purple’s market-leading, bipartisan Government Relations team and an expert in the resources sector and in helping clients navigate channels of government at all levels. Contact Michael.

 Cannings Purple’s market-leading Investor Relations team is on the ground in Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the full three days of Diggers & Dealers. If you would like to organise a meeting and learn more about Cannings Purple’s full suite of services, including strategic communications, design and digital and content and video creation, contact Director Andrew Rowell.  

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Main image thanks to Diggers & Dealers: