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AGC decision shows it’s not all one-way traffic

WESTERN Australia lost a popular national resources conference to the eastern states this year.

In a break with tradition, the decision was made after last year’s Australian Gold Council conference decided to hold the 2002 event in Melbourne to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the first gold discovery in Victoria.

It moved the conference for the first time away from the State that produces 70 per cent of the nation’s gold.

The added advantages of tapping into a much larger institutional investor, industry commentator, media and national industry organisation scene have been boosted with the announcement by the World Gold Council to hold its annual meeting in Australia for the first time – in Melbourne – one day after the conclusion of the Australian Gold Council conference.

Australian Gold Council chief executive officer Tamara Stevens said the investment community was crucial to the gold industry’s success.

Next month’s conference would make it easier for the eastern seaboard to gain a general understanding of, and appreciation for, the importance of the gold industry.

Ms Stevens said, while the World Gold Council did not have an office in Australia, it recognised Australia’s importance as the third largest gold producer.

She described the World Gold Council’s presence in Melbourne the day after the AGC conference as unprecedented. “Never before has the global gold industry converged on Melbourne, and it’ll be there for three days,” Ms Stevens said.

It would be a glittering opportunity for the Australian media to mix it with all the global and national gold leaders, she said.

The Australian Gold Council is itself new in Melbourne, having moved from Sydney, where it was established.

In terms of building an appreciation of the industry, Ms Stevens said it was in eastern Australia where the council understood that it had the most work to do.

“Our job is to win the hearts and minds, particularly of eastern states individuals. But I spend a lot of time in WA and we certainly will never, and have never, neglected Western Australia,” she said.

Ms Stevens said all aspects of the Australian Gold Council conference would undergo a review.

Up to 150 World Gold Council members are expected to attend the annual meeting on April 17 to discuss gold industry markets and marketing.

A World Gold Council spokesperson said holding the meeting in Australia for the first time would strengthen industry links between Australia and other major producing nations and reinforce Australia’s position as an important part of the global industry.

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