Diggers & Dealers 2019 Awards

THE CONFERENCE CALLER: A highlight of the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum each year is the presentation of the annual awards at the Gala Dinner.


The Digger of the Year Award recognises a company who has achieved exceptional results from its operating projects over the past 12 months.

The 2019 Digger of the Year Award was presented to Roy Hill, for the performance of the Roy Hill iron ore project, situated 340 kilometres southeast of Port Hedland, over the past year.

The big shovels commenced mining in May 2014 at Roy Hill, since which time it has become one of Australia’s single largest iron ore mines.

The company has also built a 344 kilometre train set and a dedicated two berth port facility.

It provides employment to over 2,000 people.

The company ramped-up to full production during the 2018 financial year, and by February 2019, Roy Hill trains had delivered more than 126 million tonnes to port.

Production for the 2019 financial year is expected to be at the company’s 55 million tonne production capacity, placing it in the healthy position to be able to capitalise on the booming iron ore price.

Roy Hill has continued to focus on sustained, low cost production, as well as increasing shipments to key markets in Japan, Korea, China & Taiwan.


The Dealer of the Year Award recognises a company whose strategic decisions have added substantial value for shareholders over the past 12 months.

This year the 2019 Dealer of the Year gong was presented to Northern Star Resources in recognition of the company’s acquisition of the Pogo underground gold mine in the Tintina Mineral Belt in Alaska.

Pogo is the eighth largest gold mine in the United States and was purchased by Northern Star in September 2018 for US$260 million.

The mine has 4.1 million ounces in resource, which equates to US$63 per resource ounce.

Northern Star has exported good old Aussie know-how to make mining methods at Pogo more efficient.

The company is investing heavily in exploration and new technology to extend the life of the mine.

The acquisition has transformed Northern Star into a 900,000 ounce per annum producer, with a market capitalisation of $8.6 billion.


The GJ Stokes Memorial Award recognises someone who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the mining industry.

This year’s winner, Mark Creasy, has dedicated many years of his life to pegging ground and searching for minerals, which has resulted in him making some of the most significant gold and nickel discoveries in Western Australia.

Creasy graduated from the Royal School of Mines in London before moving to Australia in 1964.

He began his career as a mining engineer in Broken Hill, before moving to Western Australia in the late 1960s.

His first big prospecting success came in the shape of a 46 ounce gold nugget near Mount Magnet in the 1970s.

Later, in 1979, he went looking for Skylab debris near Norseman, however, while studying maps of the area, he formed the opinion that the Fraser Range would be prospective for economic nickel

Mark’s foresight in pegging this ground eventually led to the discovery of the Nova nickel-copper deposit, via a joint venture with Sirius Resources to undertake the exploration program.

The announcement of the Nova discovery sent Sirius shares soaring 10,000 per cent within a matter of months.

In the 1980’s, Mark pegged the ground that would one day lead to two major gold discoveries in Western Australia, Jundee and Bronzewing, after he identified gold bearing outcrops in the area.

To date, these mines have collectively produced more than 11 million ounces of gold.

Mark Creasy has played a part in some of WA’s biggest resource finds, and in doing so has become Australia’s most famous modern gold prospector.

After 55 years in the industry, he remains one of the biggest holders of exploration ground in the state and continues to lend his support to many junior exploration and mining companies.


The Diggers and Dealers Media Award recognises one outstanding journalist who reports primarily on the resources sector.

Voting for the award is conducted by fellow journalists, as well as mining company representatives.

The winner of the 2019 Media Award is freelance journalist Barry FitzGerald.

This is Barry’s second time at winning the award, having taken home the inaugural gong in 2003.

Barry has covered the resources industry for more than 30 years, writing for The Australian Financial Review and The Age and has been Resources Editor at the Australian.

He is currently a contributor to Mining News and Stockhead.
His articles on the resources industry are of the highest calibre, well researched and insightful.

They cover the spectrum of small and mid-cap miners, as well as the majors.

The consistent quality of Barry’s articles and opinion pieces make him a worthy second-time winner of this year’s Media Award