Good evening, and welcome to our 10th annual National Mining and Related Industries Day. It’s tremendous to be here all together to celebrate National Mining Day, and tremendous to be with you.
Please join me in a country-rousing round of applause for our outstanding industry, and for each and every person who works across mining and its related businesses.
This year we are celebrating two anniversaries; this is our 10th annual National Mining and Related Industries Day, and our industry deserves celebration, doesn’t it, and our company group is celebrating my 30 years as Executive Chairman of the Hancock Group of companies.
As our dear Tad knows, my trusted exec director, don’t you love our Tad, he loves our mining industry! He really wanted to be here, first national day he’s had to miss, but an accident, and hospital, and no travel permitted, had other ideas. Let’s have a get well soon, dear Tad, round of applause please.
Anyway, when I returned to HPPL as Exec Chair, in 1992, things didn’t look as though we’d survive 30 years, so we reckon lasting 30 years is worth a celebration or two! Indeed, I will be flying to Roy after this and celebrating with our Roy and Atlas site workers.
As some of you may know, when I became chair 30 years ago, cheques were being written and then left in drawers so that our very small accounting staff could say they had been written when enquiries, polite or otherwise, were made. Not a good time to take over the responsibility of chair, as I’m sure most of you would understand.
And contrary to media, rocks in the ground don’t just flow money, it takes years of high-risk expenditure, ever increasing approvals and hoops to be able to drill, years of studies, years of thousands of approvals and permits, years to get finance and markets, then more years of approvals to construct.
Then, years to repay the banks, who aren’t that keen to see changes in the ground rules, that introduce greater uncertainty, and costs.
Yes, all this couldn’t have been done without excessively long hours, taking up weekends and public holidays, and too many times going for months without any time off at all.
But do we really want to make it even harder for small companies and youngsters to be able to build like we did over the last 30 years?
During the past year, our company has achieved some important deals for our future, indeed including here in Queensland, with our outstanding partner POSCO. You’ll be pleased to hear I hope, that we are expanding our Queensland gas production, after our joint takeover of Senex Energy. Who wants to be without electricity?
Can’t see any hands.
Who wants high priced, unreliable electricity?
Can’t see any hands.
Well, it’s up to us to let our Aussie governments know this, loud and clear. We have the resources in our country, coal, uranium, gas, sunshine but let’s not forget, that’s day time without clouds, we should have low cost, abundant, reliable electricity.
Who realises that electricity touches pretty well everything we daily need? Even for making solar panels, and electric vehicles? Mining will be essential if we’re to build those solar panels and electric vehicles, and for creating wind power too.
High cost electricity means our pensioners and others on low incomes, will be forced to choose between “heat or eat”, just like Europe is heading to this northern winter, with its foolish green led policies. The reality of pensioners and others having to suffer, indeed some will die, given such policies, how can we stand by while our governments cave in to the noisy ones. Indeed, cave in to the ones who want more hard-earned taxpayers’ money, for green schemes.
Yes, those who speak out will get slandered, but I repeat, how can we silently stand by? It would be terrific if the greenies and fellow travellers, would try to better understand and consider the consequences of their demands, so that even the poorer people can have a brighter future.
Despite the negative words of media and others, what we miners do is essential. The metals and minerals we provide build and maintain the world, from bridges and hospitals to electricity, phones and iPads, and far more, there’s almost nothing that doesn’t require mining minerals, or that needs the machines made of minerals, including to provide the clothes we wear, and even food we eat. We would simply not have the country we live in if it were not for mining.
Despite the noise of the negative ones, the reality is starting to come through. As our federal resources minister recently acknowledged, “without the resources sector there is no net zero”.
Many governments around the world as they throw taxpayers’ money on green this and that policies to get their countries deeper into debt ensuring for the next generations to be saddled with higher taxes, will require massive investments in mining if their green policies are to be achieved. So why make it more and more difficult with onerous and increasing government burdens?
If only those greenies and their fellow travellers and those in government could look at the issue more realistically, with a willingness to listen to the need for mining, the years of effort and high-risk costs we have to bear, put things in better perspective, we might be able to move forward with a realistic energy pathway, in turn providing hope for everyone’s future.
Net zero will crumble to unachievable without a strong and healthy mining industry, where companies are willing to invest the huge risk money and years of effort required. According to the International Energy Agency, for example, a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant requires nine times more mineral resources than a gas-fired plant of the same capacity.
Our green noisy ones in their electric cars are on the one hand, proving a boon to the mining industry! Yet on the other hand, are moving on many fronts to diminish mining, including through teachers and our youngsters in schools.
Please spread to your children and widely, globally, mining occupies about 57,000 square kilometres, about 83% of the area of Tasmania! This includes all open cuts, tailings dams, waste rock piles, water ponds, and processing infrastructure. And from that tiny footprint relative to the globe comes the metals and minerals that give us our modern cities and comforts, our health care, many high paying jobs, and enable our living standards to rise.
But alarm bells should be ringing because for too long people have been denigrating mining, and as a result, governments across the western world have massively increased the time and costs of expanding mines or getting new ones online, putting off investors and risking otherwise viable projects. Globally, it now takes an average of 16 years to take a new mine from discovery to first production.
According to one 2018 survey, 40% of mines currently operating are scheduled to close by the early 2040s.
We need many, many more mines and expansions to existing ones where possible. At least, we will if we want to keep our cars, trains, hospitals, living standards, and for our allies and ourselves to be able to deliver our critical defence.
This past year has shown the disastrous results, with rocketing ‘greenflation’ caused by the old but true, demand and supply principle, a lack of investment and consequent supply as a result of governments green pandering policies, while demand increases.
Green policies demand that we increase the usage of minerals-guzzling solar and wind energy and electric vehicles globally whilst simultaneously restricting coal mining, uranium, gas, fracking and policies effectively discouraging investment in new supplies.
And make no mistake, the writing was on the wall for the northern hemisphere energy crunch long before Russia decided to invade Ukraine. Just look at USA and Germany, scurrying to Russia to buy supplies from them, effectively funding the terrible war against Ukraine.
If you remember under President Trump he led the USA to energy independence for his country, quickly destroyed by the Biden governments multi green policies.
And not only have electricity prices risen under Biden, but at the gas pump, which we refer to as petrol pump, prices have risen to obscene heights.
How did President Trump lead his country to energy self-sufficiency? He firstly went all over the USA before he became President, asking the people of the USA, what would they want should he become president. Of course, he knew Americans would ask for less taxes, but he was surprised when he repeatedly heard that it was of even greater importance to the many he spoke with, to cut government tape.
So, he listened to the people and did. He ran on both less tape and cutting taxes, and unlike many politicians, once in office, he actually delivered, which permitted Americans to get on with their jobs and investment, and made USA energy independent.
Indeed, Trump went further than his commitment of cutting at least two regulations for every new one. He ended up cutting around 20 for every new one, enabling more jobs, taking more than 10 million people out of welfare and poverty, enabling more better paid jobs, which better paid jobs especially benefitted those on lower salaries, the Hispanics, African Americans and women, lifting the living standards of many, many Americans.
And yes, Trump also did something else of great importance, he invested in USA defence, and raised the morale and ability of the USA defence force, amongst other achievements on his actual record.
When I say that government policies can kill even wealthy nations, and I quote countries such as what happened to Ceylon, which had enjoyed a prosperous tea and other agriculture economy, before beautiful sounding electoral promises of “free lunches” for everyone led that country to socialism and poverty, hunger and riots, then rule by the gun.
And two of the then wealthiest countries Rhodesia and Argentina similarly, we should remember the stagflation and poverty the Peróns caused after all their “more for all” beautiful sounding socialist policies.
Uni graduates tell me, oh, but that only applied back then. I say, well just look at USA properly from what the USA had under the strong and dedicated leadership of Trump, and yes you need all those qualities to tackle big government, it’s regulations and Russia, and to drain the Washington DC swamp, and battle day after day, year after year, despite daily slander.
Compare under President Trump, low inflation, increased employment, energy self-sufficiency, increased investment, rising living standards, to what is actually happening in USA now under the green appeasing Biden government, rising inflation and costs of living, energy dependency including dependency on non-friendly countries Russia and Venezuela, rising costs of electricity and fuel, decreasing living standards and increasing crime.
Back to West Australia, I’d like to share with you this just released table from The West Australian. No surprise, the biggest contributor to the WA economy and hence its people, was the mining industry, by far. And if you add the contribution of our two great primary industries, you’ll see that mining and agriculture combined, created more revenue than all the other sectors combined.
We often hear what a great contribution to our economy that education revenue brings, unfortunately the table lumps education and training together, so we don’t see the actual education contribution, but let’s pretend that education brings in 75 percent of that combined figure, i.e. $7.65 billion against the mining industries monster contribution of $170 billion. So why do we let our governments make it so increasingly difficult for our valuable mining industries?
For those of us who recall the strikes and turbulence, even violence, and consequent product delivery unreliability of the 70s I do hope you are very active in urgently protecting our essential industry against potentially damaging IR changes.
If you don’t, the 70s will repeat itself, and those in mining won’t enjoy. Our essential industry will suffer. So will the many businesses mining supports. This is such a pity, when for 50 years or more we’ve had relative harmony in our great industry, with mining workers achieving the highest average wages in Australia, and far improved conditions. Why are we even considering going backwards, to something that didn’t work well for any of those in our industry? And in turn effecting other Aussies.
I received a beautiful email from one of our lady staff members, many beautiful emails actually, but we’ve asked her if OK to include her email in the recent HPPL submission on proposed IR legislation to government. The email was in relation to one of our bonuses, the chairman’s profit share, I’ll miss some of the complimentary bits on me, but I’ll read out the rest.
“Dear Mrs Rinehart,
A simple “thank you” seems so inadequate to describe the appreciation I feel at this moment. I have just received my letter informing me about the portion of the Chairman’s Profit Share which has been awarded to me. Please know that I will continue to pay it forward, by sharing 10% of this generous gift with those less fortunate than me. Your generosity will continue to have a ripple effect through Australia and beyond!
I’ve been contemplating to buy a small investment property, and the balance of this bonus will certainly go a long way towards the deposit needed for the acquisition.
Your unreserved generosity speaks volumes about the calibre of person you are. As an astute business woman, you have taken the Hancock business to record breaking heights over the 30 years of your tenure. Yet you still honour those around you by lifting them up at the same time. I am so proud to be part of this team, and to be associated with Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd.
Doesn’t she say it well, our businesses salaries and bonuses do have a ripple effect. In her instance both to charities of her choice, and investing in our country. Plus her taxes of course.
Why disturb this working relationship which is working so well? Why replace it with strikes, when those working are trying to save their money to be able to have the things they want in their own lives and those borrowing money with repayment terms including interest to meet are better off with continuous salaries, why put at risk the beneficial ripple effect?
A strong healthy mining industry does have ripple effects. For instance not only the billions of dollars that have been paid to aboriginal communities via company royalties, but most recently announced, the companies pledges towards the premier’s resource investment initiative in West Australia, which with the help of our friends in mining, like Rio, BHP and MinRes, plus our own Hancock Group contribution, is targeting more than one billion dollars! To help primarily aboriginal communities including those living in remote areas. A strong healthy mining industry makes the premier’s initiative possible.
Across Australia we have on the one hand acute labour shortages, while on the other pensioners, vets and students who want to work to raise their living onerous paperwork and financial penalties. With already an acute labour shortage, and the mining industry already the highest wage payer in Australia, is now really a sensible time to bring in IR changes, that will lead to work stoppages and disruption in our industry, an industry that is so critical to our country? How can this actually be good for Australians?
If you’d like to see policies I would suggest, please look at our ANDEV website, and think of what an incredible country we would have if we were permitted to have these special development zones, across our sparsely populated north. Such zones are performing fantastically, more than 8,000 of them around the world! Don’t we need in Australia. Co-founder and co ANDEV patron, Imants Kins is here tonight, if you’d like to chat more.
Thank you to our dazzling speakers at our mining day conference, thank you to the incredible work the team has contributed to make this whole day possible, thank you to our much-valued sponsors and thank you to everyone celebrating National Mining and Related Industries Day today, here and around the country.
Three cheers for our mining and related industries!
Please have a wonderful night, thank you.