Address to the 2017 Minerals Week Welcome Reception

Thank you Dr Holmes (Robyn).

And thank you Dr Ayres (Marie-Louise) for hosting us this evening.

And I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

Australian mining is very proud to be associated with the National Library of Australia.  This great national institution has played a long and integral role in Australia’s story.  Similarly, we believe that mining has also played an integral role in the development of our nation – and is part of the fabric of the economy and community that is Australia today.

The Australian mining industry is founded on a rich and deep history that has its roots in the early days of the Colony.

Coal was discovered in the colony of New South Wales within a decade of the arrival of the First Fleet and was mined and exported as early as 1801.

The gold rushes of the mid-19th century were genuinely transformational. The population trebled creating a new workforce and enlarged market that drove agricultural and industrial development and delivered improved quality of life for many.  

The major base-metal deposits discovered in the late 19th century around Broken Hill, Mount Isa, Tasmania and Kalgoorlie gave birth to some of Australia’s greatest mining companies.  These world class deposits are still being mined and contributing to Australia’s economy today.

The mid-20th century saw development of the Bowen Basin and the Pilbara, cementing Australia’s place as a world-leader in resources development and a globally significant trading nation.

Today we mine about 19 different minerals in significant amounts from nearly 400 operations.

In the year to June, resources exports were valued at a record $200 billion.

Mining is the bedrock of the high standard of living Australians enjoy.

And today this wealth is rightly shared with the land’s Traditional Owners.

The industry has reached more than a thousand indigenous land use agreements - many of which provide for the maintenance of cultural heritage and the environment as well as employment and enterprise opportunities.

Australian mining is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians and at last count mining companies were spending more than $2 billion each year on contracts with Indigenous suppliers.

This is part of mining’s evolving national story that is being documented and preserved by the National Library in fulfilment of its mission to hold and safeguard Australia’s history.

Of course it’s not just the collection that makes the Library such a treasured national institution… it’s also the scholarship it encourages.

And this is where there is another link with Australian mining. 

Like mining, the rich resource of knowledge is important – indeed critical – to the Library.  But it is the skill and drive to develop and utilise this knowledge where real value is added and that value shared.

That’s why the MCA was proud to support the Library’s Harold White Fellowship program in 2013.

The fellowship encouraged study using the Library’s rich collections.

And we were delighted when the fellowship was awarded to Dr David Lee, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to research The minerals boom: 1960-2012.

David’s research was first published in the 2015 MCA monograph, Iron country: Unlocking the Pilbara.

This work was then expanded in David’s acclaimed work, The second rush: Mining and the transformation of Australia published last year.

The MCA is very pleased to contribute to the Library’s efforts to build on David’s scholarship and the success of the Harold White Fellowship program.

As a result, we have committed to a new three-year partnership with the Library to sponsor three further Fellowships for study across a broad range of public policy topics.

We are impressed and very proud of the Committee’s selection for the 2018 Fellowship - Professor David Vines, Emeritus Fellow of Economics at Oxford University.

Professor Vines is one of the world’s leading macroeconomic theorists and an internationally recognised expert in global economic governance.

We look forward to welcoming him home to Australia next year to examine macro-economic policymaking in crucial years of World War II and the post-war period, and the lessons that era offers for today’s policy and political class.

Dr Ayres (Marie-Louise), on behalf of the Minerals Council, thank you for our continuing association that enables us to capture and celebrate the contribution of mining to Australia.

Thanks also to your team for preparing a special viewing of some of the highlights of the Library’s mining collection for us to enjoy, including allowing us to explore the Treasures Gallery which houses many of the Library’s most significant items – literally treasures of immense national value.

It is where, for example, the diaries of both James Cook and Eddie Mabo reside together for all Australians to view, to reflect and to value the rich and diverse nation that we have become.

Finally, may I formally welcome everyone to Minerals Week 2017.

Over coming days we will be meeting with parliamentarians, officials and partners from across the community and national economy.     One of these partners is of course, ANZ who have been a valued sponsor of Minerals Week for a number of years.  Simon, we are grateful in particular for your support of this evening’s event.

I’m pleased to be able to report that ANZ is comprehensively represented in the Library’s collection.

Searching that online catalogue we found The ANZ Banking Game from the 1950s which is a snakes-and-ladders style board game in which the player advances by saving pocket money and falls back when withdrawals are made: such as 3-pounds to repair a broken window or 9-shillings to purchase a toy train.  A truly iconic way in which to reflect on how our financial sector is embedded in our everyday lives.

I believe the Library has it on display tonight for you.

Ladies and gentleman, thank you for joining us tonight. Welcome to Minerals Week 2017. It’s my pleasure to introduce Simon Arduca, Executive Director Natural Resources at ANZ.   Welcome Simon.


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