We all know that long before John Key got into the gold and uranium mining industry, Crosby Textor Chairman, Robert J Champion de Crespigny was pushing the mining industry’s cause in New Zealand.
So, who is this CT man who has been called Australia’s â€˜Mr Gold’, a ‘mining magnate’, a ‘resource-sector heavyweight’ and ‘a legend’?
Like John Key, Mr Champion de Crespigny’s started his career as an accountant, unlike Key, though, after that he did a lot better financially. Was this fact, perhaps, what sparked Key’s interest in mining?
Any how, in the mid-80’s, Champion de Crespigny set up a small company, which became Normandy Mining Ltd. He grew Normandy into Australia’s largest gold miner and made mega millions in shares and cash when the company was taken over by American gold giant, Newmont Mining.
Champion de Crespigny’s most significant connection to New Zealand, before the National/CT â€˜secret’, is that for many years his Normandy Mining Ltd had the controlling interest in Waihi Gold Mining Ltd. That is the company responsible for digging the big hole behind Waihi’s main street.
After his success with Normandy, Champion de Crespigny was involved in dozens of other mining related companies. He is kind of a trader in all things mining. He and Ron Walker (former Fairfax Chairman) joined forces over Buka Minerals, which later spun off (ASX listed) Buka Gold, now Fe Ltd. He then got involved in Scarborough Minerals the result of a merger involving Greenwich Resources plc and Buka. Another of his interests, Mineral Securities, joined with his Buka to form Copperco.
And the list goes on and on with the dozens of companies in turn owned, merged and/ or sold by these companies.
Then there was that bright spark idea to set up a nuclear power company in Australia that Champion de Crespigny promoted, again with, Ron Walker. That idea went to pieces when Australian Labor’s threw cold water over it.
Champion de Crespigny was also chairman of the Australian Gold Council and a member of the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia.
Currently, apart from managing his own investments, he is on the board of S & B Industrial Minerals and has recently been appointed to the advisory panel for Barclays Capitals’ Natural Resources Investments business.
So, let’s just say that CT’s Chairman is well connected in mining circles and the mining industry is a very small world indeed.
After all, it was Buka Gold Ltd that bought the John Key connected gold and uranium company, Jackson Minerals, after the merger that formed Cauldron Energy.
It’s unclear what, if any, links Champion de Crespigny’s might currently have to Buka Gold, but his old Normandy Mining mate and former director of Waihi Gold Mining Ltd, David Hillier, is theExecutive Chairman of Buka Gold (now Fe Ltd).
[According to a 10 June 2002 Companies Office record, Hillier was a director of Waihi Gold Mining Ltd until May 2002, which is when Newmont took over.]
– Reagen Smash