Victoria Police stood guard over the entrance to the Melbourne Convention Centre for the entirety of the conference.
The International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) went off with nary a hitch in Melbourne last week despite the continuous presence of protesters attempting to blockade the conference.
The 2019 conference was the sixth iteration of the resources industry talk-fest, with over 400 companies and over 7,000 delegates attending.
Victoria Police stood guard over the entrance to the Melbourne Convention Centre for the entirety of the conference due to the anti-mining protesters who were shouting at attendees and attempting to block entry.
Australia’s federal resources minister, Matt Canavan, didn’t mince words when he gave his two cents on the protesters in opening remarks on the second full day of the conference, leaning heavily into a fantasy metaphor to say green politics wasn’t blowing the house down for the resources industry.
“So often these radical green activists present themselves with a lot of huff, a lot of puff, they try and make out that they’re very scary and they’re going to make a real difference. But so often they don’t blow the house down,” he said.
Canavan said that the resources industry was important for the UN to achieve 16 of its 17 sustainability goals, which while including climate action, also seeks to achieve zero hunger and poverty, gender equality, access to clean energy and more.
“Our resources can play a role in helping all of these things … we are keen to develop this industry so we can deliver those benefits.
“I would also argue that to take action on climate change, to reduce carbon, the only sustainable way that is going to happen is if we lift other countries out of poverty first,” he said.
“Countries that are poor are not, and will not take action to reduce their emissions in a serious way because they have higher, more pressing needs.”
The protests received ongoing media coverage in Melbourne, with one woman gluing herself to a road nearby in protest, more than 50 arrests over the three-day conference and protesters pepper-sprayed on more than one occasion.
The violence between the protesters and Victoria Police was bad enough for conference organisers to issue a statement condemning the situation and praising the police response.
“We fully support the right of people to protest peacefully and lawfully,” an IMARC spokesperson said before adding that they were reassuring delegates that the protests didn’t reflect the city’s hospitality.
Speaking with the Investing News Network at the end of the conference, IMARC ambassador Gavan Collery said that, while the protesters were inconvenient, it was business as usual for the conference.
In line with many comments made by attendees and presenters at the conference, he added that the use of megaphones by protesters was amusing because 100 percent of the materials used in megaphones are the result of mining activity.
“The only thing that’s not derived from mining in that megaphone is the hot air thats coming out right now.”
When asked about whether the industry was doing enough to sell the message that it’s very important for the renewable economy, Collery said that, while the industry was a leader, “if we think we’re doing enough — we’re not.
“I think right now we’re on a good path, but it will continue to escalate because these areas are so important.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.