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A miner matter, and gilt-free now

A miner matter, and gilt-free now

Laurence Freedman (yes, Mia Freedman's dad) is stepping down as chairman of the goldminer KalNorth on Friday. He announced his retirement last year, but stayed an extra year to tidy things up.

It looked like Freedman had turned the struggling gold explorer into a full-blown miner, but a collapse in the gold price has made work unprofitable and it has put its mine, near Kalgoorlie, on hold.

Meantime, Freedman is looking for somewhere to hang his hammock.

From Gulf to golf

Emirates senior executive Barry Brown has had a busy few days shepherding B-grade celebrities around the airline's tent, sorry, marquee, at Flemington. The need to keep watch over the VIPs has meant Brown, who was Emirates' Australian country manager until July when he took up a more senior gig in Dubai, has been limited to mostly lemonades and waters. "I worked the room like I was a young sales executive again," he said earlier this week of his experience at Flemington.

But at least the mad-keen golfer will be rewarded when he is next in Australia later this month. After taking care of the race that stops a nation, Brown will be in Sydney for the Australian Open, where he will get the chance to tee off with Masters champion Adam Scott.

Such meetings are becoming par for the course for Brown, who has already notched up battles on fairways with Tiger Woods and Tom Watson.

Cup aggro culture

Camp Rinehart kept quiet during Thursday's shareholder meeting for the owner of this column, Fairfax Media, but Gina Rinehart's agitator from the floor, John Klepec, had plenty to say afterwards.

"Given it's Melbourne Cup week, it's apparent the donkeys are the first to eat and drink at the Fairfax stables, the thoroughbreds eat and drink last," was his comment in relation to the resolutions she voted against. "You work it out," he said when asked to elaborate.

"It's impossible to believe the statement that the journalism is the best it's ever been, and the reported readership and online presence, and yet there's been a year-on-year decline in revenue of 6 per cent, and that's across the whole business," he continued.

Not that the loss on her stake in the media group has been all bad, it seems. "We are suffering as Fairfax shareholders ... but the suffering is making us stronger."

Klepec was also keen to butter up Mrs Rinehart's partners in crime - ad man John Singleton and prominent investor Mark Carnegie - who have joined with Mrs Rinehart to agitate for a merger of Fairfax's radio assets with their outfit, Macquarie Radio. Klepec said a radio deal would be "value creative" for Fairfax and when asked about likely candidates said: "Macquarie Radio would be a good fit, yes."

Fairfax's board was not the only target of a spray from Klepec.

The media group's institutional investors also copped some flak for not showing up and voting in person at Thursday's meeting.

"The fund managers should not be at Flemington with their snouts in the trough today, they should be here with us interested in the future of this company," he said.

He was asked why Mrs Rinehart was not at the meeting, and replied: "Can't answer that."

We presume she was not at Flemington.

Sowing wild Oaks?

"Work, what work?" was the general theme of the Myer marquee at Flemington Racecourse on Thursday.

The boss of the department store, Bernie Brookes, was holding court there, and hanging on Bernie's every word was the model and face of the retailer Jennifer Hawkins. But it was not his fashion sense or expertise with the mascara she was interested in, but rather his skill at picking winners.

Bernie had picked two winners from two races early on at Oaks Day, but his early pick for the third race, Minaj, was scratched.

Myer was a magnet for celebrities, including radio and TV funnyman Dave Hughes, former Essendon footballer Matthew Lloyd and Channel Nine newsreader Jo Hall.Got a tip?

bbutler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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