Police (AFP) investigating mining
firms over conduct
- Police raids jeopardise Findlay's
grip on Golden West bid work
Federal Police (AFP) investigating mining
firms over conduct
February 2, 2008
mining companies and
executives are under
alleged misconduct and
dubious practices in the
sparking calls for
With local firms
nations to capitalise on
the mining boom, federal
Drennan told The Age
that only the naive
would believe that
corruption did not
sometimes happen. He
stressed the majority of
operated within the law.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Drennan
The Age has
learned that the AFP [Australian
Federal Police] has
companies. It has
finalised inquiries into
four other companies
insufficient evidence to
criminal case has also
been revived against two
Australians charged in
1996 with breaking
environmental laws in
connection to the
country's worst mining
After a decade of
legal and political
wrangling, two Filipino
public prosecutors were
recently appointed to
begin legal proceedings
against Australians John
Loney and Steven Reid,
who held senior
positions with Canadian
firm Placer Dome — since
taken over by Barrick
Gold — that managed the
Marcopper mine on the
island of Marinduque.
The island remains
heavily polluted after a
mine dam burst in 1996.
Mr Reid, who works
for another Canadian
mining firm, Goldcorp,
and Mr Loney, who works
for Australian Mineral
Fields, did not return
The Age's calls
or emails but have
The Greens, Democrats
and Oxfam Australia have
called for the Federal
Government to examine
setting up a mining
watchdog in Australia.
Oxfam has alleged
corruption of local
of dissenters and
from some projects.
In the Philippines,
several Australian firms
employ local government
officials, despite their
role in approving
The CEO of
OceanaGold, Stephen Orr,
defended his company's
employment of village
Didipio, in the northern
Philippines, where a
$174 million gold and
copper mine will begin
production next year.
"Some people have a lot
to offer from a public
official standpoint …
and they also happen to
He dismissed claims
of Oxfam Australia that
refusing to sell their
homes and tacitly
involvement of armed
soldiers in the case of
a resident who ignored
legal orders to vacate
But The Age
has confirmed that an
employee of Australian
company Climax Mining,
which held rights to the
Didipio mine until it
was bought by OceanaGold
in 2006, made an
irregular land offer to
an anti-mine local
councillor in the late
1990s, before a council
vote to endorse the
of more than 100
killed and injured
during the military
suppression of an
uprising in October 2004
have lodged a Supreme
Court application in
Western Australia for
access to any Anvil
Mining documents that
shed light on support
given by the company to
the military. The
application is due to be
heard late next month.
Anvil Mining has
denied any wrongdoing.
Police raids jeopardise Findlay's
grip on Golden West bid work
Andrusiak | February 02, 2008
THE Australian Federal Police raid on the office of
Findlay Securities and two of its senior staff have cast
further doubt on its work in backing the Fairstar
Resources all-scrip bid for Golden West.
AFP officers are believed to have seized computers
and documents from Findlays and the homes of director
Robin Armstrong and senior trader Jeremy Slater on
Thursday amid market rumours that the police will look
at their share trading in both companies.
Fairstar, led by quarry manager Kevin Robertson, has
been rejected numerous times by Golden West.
It says the all-scrip offer of seven Fairstar shares
for one Golden West share is inadequate.
Golden West, chaired by iron ore industry doyen Geoff
Wedlock, controls the lucrative Wiluna West iron ore
project in the WA outback and shares a similar share
register with Fairstar and adjoining offices in Perth.
Both companies have similar share registers and
office space in Perth and have been backed by Kalgoorlie
driller John Doutch.
A further complication this week was the surprise
revelation by Golden West major shareholder Dubai-based
Falak Holdings that it had "accidentally" sold its 8 per
cent stake into the Fairstar bid, which took Fairstar to
a holding of 33 per cent.
Falak had promised it opposed the bid and had
initiated an extraordinary general meeting to remove
three Golden West directors: Con Markopoulos, Alan Rudd
and Mick Wilson.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Tuesday but
was been postponed to February 19 when Golden West won
its application to the Takeovers Panel to investigate
the share transfer.
Falak has instructed lawyers to seek the return of
the shares from Fairstar ahead of the meeting.
Neither Mr Markopoulos nor Mr Wilson returned calls
from The Weekend Australian and Mr Rudd, who is also on
the Fairstar board, could not be contacted for comment.
It is understood, however, that Mr Markopoulos
recently met Falak representatives in Dubai and was
accompanied by Matt Tomas, a business partner of
Melbourne underworld figure Dominic (Mick) Gatto.
The raid on the Findlay offices added to doubts about
its backing of Fairstar's bid, which has been weighed
down by funding issues.
Mr Armstrong declined to comment last night.
Findlay had promised to underwrite the bid before
recent falls on the Australian share market triggered a
It is unclear if Findlay has decided to walk away,
and Fairstar managing director Kevin Robertson confused
the issue further on Thursday when he said the Fairstar
board believed the underwriting obligations were still
However, he told the Australian Securities Exchange,
"Fairstar understands that Findlay does not support this
Through a third party, Mr Robertson said yesterday
that he believed Findlay would meet its obligations.
Fairstar would need to raise upwards of $40 million
to complete the deal, well above its current market
capitalisation of $30 million, while Findlay is
desperate to receive the generous fees attached to the
Golden West and its advisers are believed to have
made new approaches, without response, to Fairstar to
clear up the funding arrangements, and may make a third
application to the Takeovers Panel to resolve the issue.
Fairstar posted a loss of $1.85 million for the six
months to the end of December and is burning cash at the
rate of $1 million every three months to fund the
According to its latest quarterly announcement,
Fairstar expects to spend $500,000 exploring its various
tenements in the current quarter.
Its bank balance
stood at $1.47 million
on January 1.