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sagey beats twiggy

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    Things are crook in Tallarook, but Twiggy isn't worried

    WITH the world's financial markets in turmoil and commodity prices dropping off from recent historic highs, you could be forgiven for thinking the mining industry is a sombre place to be, but the mood at the 2008 RESOURCESTOCKS Best of the Best awards last night was one of hope and expectation.

    Leaders from the resource industry, including Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, met at the Parmelia Hilton to celebrate the winners.

    Forrest addressed the audience at the beginning of the night, saying this was not the time for people in the resource industry to give up, and that hope was the order of the day.

    The mining magnate likened stopping growth in China and India to "putting the toothpaste back in the tube".

    He said that, with growth in China falling to 9.3% the country is still growing by "an Australia a year", and demand for resources in the region would soon rise.

    Forrest also took the opportunity to talk about his work with the Australian Employment Covenant, a program designed to provide training and subsequent jobs to 50,000 indigenous people.

    The covenant was launched in October, and so far has opened up 6000 places for Aborigines. It also includes a program to encourage indigenous youths to stay in school.

    On to the awards themselves, and it was a night for the 20-cent successes, with several of the winners telling of their humble beginnings, listing on the Australian Securities Exchange for 20c per share.

    In the category of IPO of the Year, Bathurst Resources took out the top prize over Phosphate Australia and Krucible Metals.

    Bathurst, which listed on the ASX in July at an issue price of 20c, has managed to stay in positive territory, with a share in a highly prospective nickel-gold-base metals project at Mount Clifford in Western Australia and two operating thermal coal mines from the acquisition of C&R Holding in July 2008.

    Integra Mining was named Explorer of the Year for its work proving up its Aldiss-Randalls gold project near Kalgoorlie in the face of a volatile gold market.

    Integra beat out finalists Extract Resources, with its Husab uranium project in Namibia, Africa, and Linc Energy, a company working to bring together two processes to convert stranded coal deposits into clean liquid fuels.

    The Producer of the Year award went to Queensland Gas Company, Australia's leading coal seam gas producer. QGC's Surat Basin reserves are expected to supply around 20% of Queensland's domestic gas market in 2009.

    The two runners-up for the award were Avoca Resources, which this year became the first new gold producer in the West Australian Goldfields since 2001, and Fortescue Metals Group, which shipped first ore from WA’s North West, just five years after the company formed.

    Atlas Iron managing director David Flanagan took out the title of Executive of the Year over finalists Grant King, from Origin Energy, and Rohan Wilson of Avoca Resources.

    Under Flanagan, Atlas Iron has beaten out a myriad of iron-ore hopefuls to open a mine at its Pardoo project.

    The company, which has the potential to export up to 12 million tonnes of direct shipping ore by 2012, signed a heads of agreement with Fortescue Metals Group in August to access port facilities at Port Hedland.

    In the 2008 Identity of the Year award, Cape Lambert Iron Ore executive chairman Tony Sage beat out Andrew Forrest and Resource Development International chief executive Clive Palmer.

    Sage's resource activities have kept him under the spotlight through a power struggle over Cape Lambert's iron ore project, a 223 square kilometre area in the Pilbara, which holds a JORC-compliant resource of 2.5 billion tonnes at 30% iron ore.

    Finally, the People's Choice award, a new category introduced this year, was given to Pure Energy Resources, with Dioro Exploration and Lincoln Minerals the runners-up.

    Readers of RESOURCESTOCKS magazine and were invited to nominate Australian resource companies with a market capitalisation of $A200 million or less as at September 1.

    WA-based Pure Energy, which has coal seam gas interests in Tasmania and Queensland's Bowen Basin, has maintained a strong share price in spite of the recent turmoil on the market.

    All in all the 2008 Best of the Best Awards were a great success for all involved, and a beacon of positivity in an otherwise dark industry.

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