06/08/2009 - 00:00

Diggers gets deals done

06/08/2009 - 00:00

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THE Diggers and Dealers mining forum got under way this week in Kalgoorlie-Boulder with a blast of optimism from a renowned international economist, and the prevailing mood of the delegates reflected the buoyancy in the rising commodities sector.

THE Diggers and Dealers mining forum got under way this week in Kalgoorlie-Boulder with a blast of optimism from a renowned international economist, and the prevailing mood of the delegates reflected the buoyancy in the rising commodities sector.

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis and was subsequently dubbed 'Dr Doom', opened the conference with an encouraging address forecasting a sustained global recovery in commodities that would lead the world economy out of recession.

"There will be a global economic recovery, and that global economic recovery is going to be associated, everything else being equal, with an increase in demand for commodities," Professor Roubini said.

Event sponsor CIBC's head of Asia Pacific region, Warren Gilman, said the mood of the delegates provided an accurate depiction of the optimism abundant in the commodities sector.

"Everyone is back to business, reasonably optimistic and the environment reflects that," Mr Gilman told WA Business News.

"If we had this conference six months ago it would have been very different, but markets have improved markedly in the last six months and the participants in the conference, I think, are pretty upbeat."

Mr Gilman said the focus of the conference had shifted since its early days.

"When it first started it was probably fun first and hard work second. I think that only lasted for the first two, or three, or five years," Mr Gilman said.

"After that, with the growth of the mining business in Australia since 2000, this conference has become very much focused on hard work first, and fun second."

There's no doubt Diggers and Dealers has a huge effect on the local economy, with 1,700 delegates filling the city's hotel rooms to capacity, and networking functions each evening giving local hospitality staff a workout only rivalled during the town's famous Race Round.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Hugh Gallagher said Diggers had become an important fixture in Kalgoorlie's calendar.

"The fact that we understand mining here, and one of the world's prominent mining events happens in Kalgoorlie, that stimulates the interest of people here because they can understand what it's all about," he said.

"They also understand the importance Diggers and Dealers has to Western Australia's mining industry.

"It effectively keeps the region within the radar, so to speak, of the mining magnates of the world; but not just the miners, it's really, as much as anything, about those people that mining need, and they're the financiers.

"They need the money men, and the majority of them would be here."

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