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14 May 2016

Look what the scanner dragged in!

Remember those pre-glued photo albums of yesteryears? You pulled back that transparent coversheet, placed your photos on the sticky stuff, and rolled the coversheet back over it again. Almost fifty years later, the photos are still in almost-mint condition but there's no way of prising them off that glue again.

Having just bought one of those new print-and-scan CANON gadgets, I scanned a few of those glued-down photos to share with you. They all date back to 1970 and 1971.

Peter Goerman's audit office at Loloho


With Bob Green (left) on one of the islands offshore from Loloho

Peter Goerman doing what he liked best:
cutting contractors' progress claims down to size


Des Hudson stress-testing one of the girders for the new Loloho Powerhouse

Beach party at Loloho

On one of the offshore islands. From left to right John Gaskill, next one unknown, Peter Goerman having a laughing fit behind Jacko's back, Neil "Jacko" Jackson, and an Indian guy who's name I forgot

More of the beach party

And more. From left to right: Peter Goerman, Neil "Jacko" Jackson, Frank Joslin, the rest unknown

On the left Frank Joslin; "Jacko" Jackson with his back to the camera

More party-goers; the waving guy was Maurice somebody-or-other

Party, party, party ...

... and more of the same ...

... and then some more ...

... and more ...

... and more.

And here are a few more shots after I'd come back to Bougainville in mid-1972 as Office Manager for Camp Catering Services - see here:

'Beau' Player on the left; Roy 'Goldfinger' Goldsworthy on the right

No idea what the argument was about;
he was probably too drunk to remember himself

The guy with the cravat is Lloyd McChesney

The chap on the right was from Saskatchewan in Canada although considering the state he was in I doubt he was able to spell it;
in 1985 I bumped into him at the Blues Point Hotel in McMahons Point in Sydney and he was still (or again?) pissed

With his back to the camera is Les Feeney, always hard-drinking and always trying but hardly ever succeeding to light his pipe

Des Hudson in Bechtel's Loloho office

Des Hudson driving without a licence

Camp 6 at Loloho


6 May 2016

Bougainville Copper Limited - Annual Report 2015


The issued capital of the company is 401,062,500 ordinary shares of Kina 1.00 each fully paid, and owned 53.83% by Rio Tinto, 19.06 by the Papua New Guinea Government, and 27.11% by pubic shareholders.

The mine assets totalling Kina 1,036,049,000 were fully depreciated or impaired (written off) in previous financial years, leaving total net assets of Kina 138,412,000 at 31 December 2015, comprised of Kina 108,953,000 in shares held in publicly listed investment companies traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, and Kina 29,459,000 in cash and other receivables. The share investments yielded Kina 3,778,000 in dividends while the cash earned Kina 1,029,000 in interest in the last financial year.

Dividing the total net assets of Kina 138,412,000 by the 401,062,500 shares gives a theoretical asset backing of K. 0.345 per share which is 65% of the currently traded share price of AUS$ 0.225 (or Kina 0.52 at the present exchange rate of Kina 1.00 to AUS$ 0.43).

The Annual Report 2015 gives some interesting information on page 1 on the 17 years of operation prior to 1989 and the 'Resource Statement' on page 10 assesses the financial viability of re-opening the Panguna mine.

There is a 'Statistical Summary' at the back of the printed Annual Report with some quite staggering production and earnings figures which are reproduced below for history buffs and those involved with BCL during its early years:

A little difficult to read but let's look at a few of them:

Net earnings in the first 2½ years alone were more than the total cost of the mine, viz. 1972 K.27.7million, 1973 K.158.4million, 1974 K.114.6million.

And the earnings continued to flow: 1975 K.46.2million, 1976 K.41.3million, 1977 K.28.5million, 1978 K.48.0, 1979 K.83.9million, 1980 K.71.5million, 1981 K.22.8million, 1982 K.11.2million, 1983 K.54.6million, 1984 K.11.6million, 1985 K.28.1million, 1986 K.45.3million, 1987 K.90.5million, 1988 K.108.6million - a stream of profits right to the very end.

They don't make mines like that anymore!

Anyway, like my mate says, it's only interesting if you're an accountant. And an accountent, accounttent, accountint --- good with math I am - albeit [re]tired now! ☺


4 May 2016

Red Dog


Louis de Bernières, probably best known for his book "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (and the movie by the same name), wrote the endearing true story about Red Dog which was later made into an equally charming movie.

As he explains in the inside jacket of the book, "In early 1998 I went to Perth in Western Australia in order to attend the literature festival, and part of the arrangement was that I should go to Karratha to do their first ever literary dinner. Karratha is a mining town a long way further north. The landscape is extraordinary, being composed of vast heaps of dark red earth and rock poking out of the never-ending bush. I imagine that Mars must have a similar feel to it.

I went exploring and discovered the bronze statue to Red Dog outside the town of Dampier. I felt straight away that I had to find out more about this splendid dog.

A few months later I returned to Western Australia and spent two glorious weeks driving around collecting Red Dog stories and visiting the places that he knew, writing up the text as I went along. I hope my cat never finds out that I have written a story to celebrate the life of a dog."

I enjoyed the movie because the people in it reminded me so much of the people I met on Bougainville in the early construction days. Then I picked up the book - a mere hundred half-sized pages - and found some of the passages even more reminiscent of Bougainville. Listen to this:

".. the town was full of lonely men. There had been a few aborigines and even fewer white people there before the iron companies and the salt company had moved in, but just recently a massive and rapid development had begun to take place. New docks were constructed, new roads, new houses for the workers, a new railway and a new airport. In order to build all this, hundreds of men had arrived from all corners of the world, bringing nothing with them but their physical strength, their optimism and their memories of distant homes. Some of them were escaping from bad lives, some had no idea how they wanted their lives to be, and others had grand plans about how they could work their way from rags to riches.

They were either rootless or uprooted. They were from Poland, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, Greece, England, Yugoslavia, and from other parts of Australia too. Most had brought no wives or family with them, and for the time being they lived in big huts that had been towed on trailers all the way up from Perth. Some of them were rough and some gentle, some were honest and some not. There were those who got rowdy and drunk, and picked fights, there were those who were quiet and sad, and there were those who told jokes and could be happy anywhere at all. With no women to keep an eye on them, they easily turned into eccentrics. A man might shave his head and grow an immense beard. He might go to Perth for a week, go "blotto on Rotto', and come back with a terrible hangover and lots of painful tattoos. He might wear odd socks and have his trousers full of holes. He might not wash for a week, or he might read books all night so that he was red-eyed and weary in the morning when it was time to go to work. They were all pioneers, and had learned to live hard and simple lives ..."

Sounds familiar? In case you've been wondering: I was the one with the odd socks ☺

Anyway, I'm sure Louis de Bernières won't mind me having quoted him; after all, you're all now going to rush out to buy the book, aren't you? ☺