Eighth Sir Thomas McIlwraith Lecture with Robert Gottliebsen
The mineral wealth of Mt Isa was discovered 100 years ago when John Campbell Miles recognised the heavy rocks in the area as similar to those he had seen in Broken Hill. The assay confirmed a very high grade of lead. And so was born one of Australia’s great success stories.
At the Australian Institute of Progress’ signature annual event, renowned journalist Robert Gottliebsen told the story of those who made the mine.The success of Mt Isa is a tribute to the teams of Australians who dreamed big dreams and brought them to life, and who handed the baton over to the next generations, as they are doing right at this moment.
Previous lectures have emphasised champions. This lecture explored a champion team, with more than its fair share of champion players including John Campbell Miles, Leslie Urquhart, Julius Kruttschnitt, Charlie Hilton, Sir George Fisher, Sir James Foots, Alban Lynch, Ken Mathews, and Cam Jenkins.
Many think mining is easy: find some minerals, register a claim, buy some earth-moving or drilling equipment, dig up and ship away. In fact successful mining is incredibly difficult. It involves vision and resolve combined to financing, logistics, scientific and geological theories, marketing, politicking and taking risks on the state of the economy and the price of commodities decades into the future.
Most mines fail. Few mines last 100 years, and even fewer make the contribution to the life of their country and state as had Mt Isa.
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