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Market low but spirits high

Tuesday, 27th May, 2014

Miners and investors from as far away as China were in town yesterday for the first day of the Resources Investment Symposium. Miners and investors from as far away as China were in town yesterday for the first day of the Resources Investment Symposium.

By Erica Visser

Numbers were down at the city’s fourth annual Resources Investment Symposium yesterday but that didn’t stop the industry’s fighting spirit from shining through.

The three-day event kicked off with Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 hit “I Will Survive” booming through the speakers in front of a male-dominated crowd at the Broken Hill Civic Centre.

The song was symbolic of both a recent “tough old market” and Broken Hill’s links with the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert, said symposium organiser Kerry Stevenson.

The ringing theme from keynote speakers yesterday was the need to educate urban dwellers about the importance of the mining industry.

Ms Stevenson said that it was an issue that “gets up my goat”, as her Sydney friends were among those who did not understand the importance of the sector. 

“Without the mining industry, they wouldn’t have a knife and fork to eat off a plate.”

Ms Stevenson said that the industry needed to take a stand against recent attacks on the industry.

“I think we need to stop apologising for the mining industry. This is an industry that’s very, very good for Australia.”

She addressed the “elephant” in the room - numbers were down considerably on last year’s event - a fact she blamed on the “tough times”.

Despite this, investors and mining figures had made their way from as far as Beijing to be at the event.

Geologist and climate sceptic Ian Plimer, who launched his 10th book last night, encouraged the attendees to “tell lies” amongst themselves when they had “various lubricated functions to assist us”.

He agreed that a major challenge was convincing Sydneysiders who were “sipping on their lattes and looking at their BMWs” that the mining industry was relevant to them.

Mr Plimer hoped his latest novel, entitled Not for Greens, would help in educating the masses.

“It’s going to make me really popular among those I have no time for at all,” he said.

The symposium heard from prominent speakers including CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee, Resources and Energy SA Deputy Chief Executive, Paul Heithersay and economist and newspaper columnist Henry Ergas. 

Day two will kick of at 9am today and will feature Qantas Chairman Leigh Clifford.

It will finish with a dinner featuring Cold Chisel’s Don Walker tonight.

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