The winners are…
CEO of the Year - Amanda Lacaze, Lynas Corporation
New/Emerging Leader of the Year - Patrick Walta, New Century Resources
Deal and/or Merger of the Year - Kidman Resources for its JV with SQM
Explorer of the Year - Xanadu Mines
In a hot field, Amanda Lacaze has been recognised for the turnaround of Lynas from a struggling producer to ASX 200 member - or as one of our judges put it, taking the company from a "basket case to a leading rare earths company".
Dacian Gold executive chairman Rohan Williams was runner-up as the company poured first gold following a well-executed project build at Mt Morgans.
Patrick Walta was named as our New/Emerging Leader of the Year due to the well-timed acquisition of Century (which was nominated for Deal and/or Merger of the Year last year) and the success in building a $600 million ASX 300 company from scratch in a little over a year.
Aurelia Metals boss Jim Simpson was the runner-up after turning around the once-struggling Cobar miner.
Kidman Resources was judged as the clear winner of the Deal and/or Merger of the Year for its company-making US$150 million joint venture with New York-listed Chilean major SQM.
The company's win comes after it was a runner-up in last year's awards for Explorer of the Year for finding the Earl Grey deposit that attracted SQM.
Again, Aurelia was the runner-up for its $58 million acquisition of Peak Mines, which was fully repaid in less than four months.
Our Explorer of the Year is Xanadu Mines for its success in chasing large porphyry deposits in Mongolia.
The company's Kharmagtai project already has a resource of 203 million tonnes at 0.34% copper and 0.33 grams per tonne gold, which is set to grow with the addition later this year of the exciting Zaraa discovery.
Cobar explorer Peel Mining was the runner-up for its success with the Southern Nights discovery.
Gold scooped three of the four categories last year, but this year's winners are all outside of the precious metals space, reflecting a more even year for the sector.
At the start of June, we asked readers to submit nominations, which were then used formulate a shortlist for each category.
The judging panel comprised MNN editor Kristie Batten, senior reporter Michael Quinn, Aspermont managing editor Richard Roberts, regular contributors Barry FitzGerald and Allan Trench, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub director Sabina Shugg, CSA Global MD Jeff Elliott, Lion Selection Group investment manager Hedley Widdup and PCF Capital MD Liam Twigger.
Voting was conducted via a Brownlow Medal style system, using a 3-2-1 allocation of votes to come up with clear winners in each category.
MNN congratulates all the winners and nominees.