Lai See

Winners of the night

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 1:10am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2014, 1:10am

The Mines & Money conference ended last night with the awards dinner, which along with the various mining luminaries featured Australian comedian Vince Sorrenti. He's an amusing man, though we are unable to reproduce any of his jokes here.

As for the awards, Discovery of the Year went to Panoramic Resources for its Savannah North copper-nickel project. The project development award for the greatest progress in developing a new mine or expanding an existing project was won by Fortescue Metals for its Solomon Hub project. Deal of the Year also went to Fortescue for its Iron Bridge project. Mining Country of the Year, which is awarded to the country that has shown the greatest improvement in policies towards mineral investors, went to Australia.

This year's Mining Personality of the Year, which is awarded to the individual who has made the greatest contribution to the development of the mining industry in Asia-Pacific, went to Alexander Molyneux, chairman of Azarga Resources, a private uranium development company he founded. Earlier this year, Azarga announced a merger with Powertech Uranium, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, to create Azarga Uranium.


The Sevens, Spider-Man, Barbie, Godzilla and a black market

The annual carnival, the Hong Kong Sevens, has arrived, bringing the usual disruption - traffic congestion, an inability to get a drink at your usual pub and strange and unpredictable behaviour from oddly dressed people.

We are not talking about mainlanders here. These are, by and large, middle-aged white people, many with rugby jerseys stretched over their bulging midriffs as if they were somehow an embodiment of the athleticism of the event. Half of them are in danger of a heart attack just by walking to the ground. Small wonder that the local Chinese look on with total bemusement as groups variously dressed as Spider-Man, Barbie or Godzilla pass by. It's heaven for the fans but hell for those that are not.

One long-term expatriate, churlishly in our view, thought the event should be banished to Po Toi or somewhere equally remote. We view the bacchanal with some approval. Nevertheless, we were invited to pay HK$5,000 for a three-day ticket on Thursday evening by a gentleman from South London, a markup of a mere 230 per cent. Economic fundamentals apply as much to this event as elsewhere. Strong demand and restricted supply result in a flourishing black market.


A perfect mismatch

We see that the beautiful Queen Elizabeth is gracing Hong Kong's harbour with its presence. It's one of the largest passenger liners in the world, yet it has been able to resist the allure of our futuristic-looking cruise terminal. You would have thought this would have been a match made in heaven for the new terminal. But no, it is parked at the old Ocean Terminal at Harbour City. Meanwhile, the rather less than spectacular Seven Seas Voyager occupied the berth at the cruise terminal.


Rise and fall of @GSElevator

It appears we have to wait a while longer for Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking. The book is by Goldman Sachs Elevator (@GSElevator), the man with 650,000 Twitter followers.

For some years, he was the anonymous banker who tweeted crass and tasteless comments from the world of finance that were purportedly overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevator. Examples include "Some chick asked me what I would do with 10 million bucks. I told her I'd wonder where the rest of my money went" and "'Just be yourself' is good advice to probably 5 per cent of people". Earlier this year, he secured a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster for reportedly a six-figure sum.

Then came his unmasking by Andrew Sorokin of The New York Times as John Lefevre, who for a time had worked for Citi in Hong Kong in the early 2000s. Shortly after that, Simon & Schuster canned the deal, saying it was doing it "in light of information that has recently come to our attention". Lefevre is mystified, Euromoney reports, since he says he didn't mislead the firm.

Goldman Sachs drily responded to the news of the aborted deal with the tweet "Guess elevators go up and down".


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