Author(s): Martin Summons
Mandarins and Mavericks tells a great Australian story of drive and endeavour on the part of the people who built and sustained the company Western Mining Corporation from its origins in 1933.Drawing on meticulously kept archives as well as the voices of many of the individuals involved, the book traces the company's progress throughout its seventy-two years - from its humble start in a corporate world very different from the one we know today to its eventual ranking as one of Australia's leading exploration, mining and processing conglomerates.WMC produced mineral wealth from local gold, copper, iron ore, bauxite, alumina, nickel, uranium, talc and fertilisers. It also undertook an array of exploration activities and investments overseas. that involved numerous ventures, both profitable and not so profitable.It was, however, the value inherent in WMC's long-standing and substantial bauxite and alumina interests back home that would ultimately reshape the company's corporate structure. This was realised in 2002 when shareholders approved a demerger to split the company's assets into two separate entities, effectively marking the beginning of the end of WMC as a publicly listed company in its own right. A bidding war ensued and an orderly takeover by BHP Billiton finally saw the company name and its familiar share market code disappear from the ASX Official List on 29 June 2005.
After completing a BA in Media Studies and Sociology at Swinburne University of Technology in the 1970s, Martin Summons started a career in journalism with The Weekly Times and then The Land, which evolved into an interest in finance writing for AAP, Reuters, The Australian and Australian Business and, later, as a stockbroking research editor. His other publications include Water the Vital Element, 150 years of Shepparton's Progress (2010); and Turning Points, The Story of Geoff Handbury (2012).