Oct 13, 2020

Evolution boss quizzed over QRC election campaign row

Evolution boss quizzed over QRC election campaign row

Australia’s third biggest gold miner has pledged to maintain its membership of the Queensland Resources Council amid fallout from the group’s anti-green election campaign.

The Vote Greens Last advertising campaign saw BHP and Origin Energy suspend their QRC memberships in protest.

However, Evolution Mining executive chairman Jake Klein refused to be drawn on his opinion at the Diggers and Dealers mining forum, saying the major gold miner would retain its membership.

His chief operating officer Bob Fulker is a member of the board of directors of the QRC, which approved the campaign ahead of the October 31 Queensland state election.

Evolution Mining executive chairman Jake Klein.

“It was a board decision by the QRC to support that campaign and we are members of the QRC and Bob is our representative,” he said.

“And the board collectively decided to support that campaign and we are remaining members of the QRC.”

In a statement last week on the back of BHP’s decision to suspend its membership, QRC president Brent Gunther said the campaign was “consistent” with those run by mining organisations in other states.

Evolution produced 746,463 ounces of gold at costs of $1043 an ounce in 2019-20 and is one of the largest gold producers in Queensland, headlined by its share of Glencore’s Ernest Henry mine near Cloncurry.

In September quarter results released yesterday Evolution reported an output of 170,021 ounces at an all-in sustaining cost of $1198 per ounce.

It also holds the Mount Carlton and Mount Rawdon mines, but Mr Klein has not been shy to move underperforming assets to smaller operators.

Evolution sold the Cracow gold mine, 500km north-west of Brisbane, to Aeris Resources earlier this year.

The company is particularly focused on works at its large Cowal operation and the new Red Lake acquisition in Canada, and Mr Klein said Evolution’s portfolio was always being reviewed.

“That’s the challenge of always improving your asset base,” he said.

“Rawdon and (Carlton) have been really good for the portfolio, but they are assets that are continually looked at through that quality lense and seeing whether we can create more value (rather) than it being in someone else’s hands.”