Diggers and Dealers chair pushes for wise investment of resources wealth

The next chairman of Diggers & Dealers, Jim Walker.

Outgoing Diggers and Dealers chairman Nick Giorgetta has challenged Australia to take advantage of the record trade surpluses being driven by the resources industry.

Giorgetta, who is chairing his final Forum in Kalgoorlie-Boulder this year, highlighted the record $5.75 billion trade surplus registered in Australia in May.

The record surplus, which is expected to be surpassed by the June return, is largely due to the income received from commodity sales for iron ore, coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), Giorgetta said at Diggers and Dealers on Monday.

“We believe that these large surpluses are set to continue in the foreseeable future and will continue to strengthen Australia’s economy,” Giorgetta said.

“The challenge for the government is to invest the money wisely, for the benefit of all Australians now and in the future.”

In the mining industry, Giorgetta believes the challenge is to continue to strive for operational excellence and sustainable investments to remain world leaders.

“Like I said last year, to do this we need to attract as many talented and skilled people to the mining industry as possible,” Giorgetta said.

The 2019 Digger and Dealers features 50 company presentations ranging from iron ore and gold, to base metals, battery metals and rare earth minerals.

Giorgetta reflected on the scale of the companies that are taking part in this year’s event compared with a decade ago.

“Ten years ago, there were only a handful of companies presenting at Diggers and Dealers in the billion-dollar club,” Giorgetta said.

“This year, a remarkable 22 companies have market capitalisations ranging from $1 billion to more than $120 billion.”

Giorgetta will hand over the Diggers and Dealers chairman role to Jim Walker at the end of the 2019 event.

Walker, who has more than 40 years’ experience in the resources sector, is a former chief executive of WesTrac Group and a former director of Seven Group Holdings.

He is also the former national president of the Australian Institute of Management and former chairman of Macmahon Holdings.

Diggers and Dealers director Myles Ertzen said the incoming chairman’s lifetime of experience in the resource sector eminently qualified him for the role.

He also thanked outgoing Giorgetta for his outstanding contribution during his term in office.

“Nick’s tenure began as he stepped down as chairman of Regis Resources and he went on to guide Diggers from a market low to market highs, culminating in this year’s Forum hosting the second-highest attendance in the event’s 28-year history,” Ertzen said.

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