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MCA appoints new Chair

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

The Minerals Council of Australia today announced former Cabinet Minister, lawyer and experienced Board director the Hon Helen Coonan as its new Chair. Coonan will begin as Chair when current Chair Dr Vanessa Guthrie steps down following the MCA’s board meeting on 18 June.

Her appointment for a two year period was the result of an extensive selection process involving the MCA’s Board and CEO which concluded in early May. 

Dr Guthrie has been MCA Chair for the last three years after joining the Board in 2014.

During that time, the Australian minerals industry has increased its remarkable contribution to the economy and Australia, delivering strong jobs growth across our regional communities.


“It has been a privilege to advocate on behalf of so many great companies and their employees – all of whom are critical to the economic success of Australia,” Dr Guthrie said.

“We have much to be proud of in Australian mining, including our status as a global technology leader and our record as the nation’s wealth creator and jobs generator,” Dr Guthrie said.

Helen Coonan is an outstanding leader in Australian political and corporate life and brings extremely strong experience in governance, commercial and public policy skills to MCA and the world-leading Australian minerals industry.

Coonan served in the Parliament from 1996 to 2011, including as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

During her parliamentary career, Coonan also served as Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer and was the first ever female member of a federal cabinet to take on Treasury responsibilities. 

Prior to entering Parliament, Coonan worked as a lawyer including as principal of her own legal firm, as a partner in law firm Gadens, as a commercial barrister in Australia and as an attorney in New York.

After leaving Parliament, Coonan was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). She is also a Non-Executive Director of Crown Resorts Limited and Snowy Hydro Ltd and serves on the Advisory Board of JP Morgan, Corporate Council of the European Australian Business Council and the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce Advisory Council. 

"I am honoured to be appointed chair of the MCA at such a great time for our world-leading Australian minerals industry," Coonan said.

"The MCA is widely respected throughout Australia and the world for its strong and effective advocacy for our industry, its outstanding workforce and our regional communities."

"If Australia is to stay in front of its global competitors in an increasingly competitive world, we must continue to push for faster project approvals, greater sustainability and reforms in a whole range of policy areas."

"I am excited about taking on this challenge and leading a high-calibre board and a great organisation to advance the industry and benefit all Australians," Coonan said.

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