Diggers owner Kate Stokes told the crowd at the WesTrac gala dinner that the Fortescue Metals Group founder and chairman had showed a fearless approach to managing his business through public scepticism and, as a result, had earned the respect of his peers.
“Andrew has of course been well-rewarded for his efforts and deservedly is now one of Australia’s wealthiest individuals,” she said.
“He continues to inspire and lead his business endeavours, but is also sharing his expertise, wealth and motivation in many charitable and philanthropic endeavours, including his work progressing employment opportunities with our indigenous community with excellent results.”
And that he did again, in accepting his award, by saying: "I'd like to lay out the welcome mat to more women in the industry.
While the Digger Award usually goes to a new producer, this year it was awarded to Sirius Resources for its Nova and Bollinger nickel discoveries.
The Dealer Award went to Iron Ore Holdings for a number of small deals, including one with Mineral Resources that will see it enter the producer ranks.
Managing director Alwyn Vorster accepted the award.
Vorster likened the company to Stephen Bradbury at the Olympics.
"Hold back and let the bigger boys run the race," he said.
Western Australian explorer Sheffield Resources was awarded the Emerging Company Award, based on its presentation in the Duelling Drill Rigs session.
The forum also honoured one of Australia’s finest, with Vietnam veteran and previous GJ Stokes Award winner George Jones presenting Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC the special award for “One of our industry’s own”
Keighran was awarded the VC in August 2010 after serving in Afghanistan, but now works as a drill and blast operator at La Mancha Resources’ Frog’s Leg gold mine near Kalgoorlie.
“We feel this is the perfect setting to acknowledge Daniel’s very special contribution, not to our industry, but to all Australians,” Jones said.
“It’s a pleasure and a privilege to express our sincere thanks to one of our industry’s own.”
Keighran got a standing ovation.
Former MiningNews.net journalist and current Australian Financial Review reporter Luke Forrestal won the Media Award.