Marathon Resources Director and former ALP Senator Chris Schacht is currently in China with Premier Mike Rann and business leaders talking up trade ties between South Australia and the People’s Republic.
Schacht, who chairs a little-known consultancy called the Australia China Development Company, was due to be co-leader of the group with Central Market identity and Australian Asian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Irena Zhang before the pair scored a coup by enlisting the prestige and the presence of the office and person of the State Premier.
The business mission intends to visit Beijing, SA’s sister state/province Shandong, and Zhejiang Province.
Rubbing shoulders with Rann for the duration of the trip will provide Schacht with excellent opportunities to get into the Premier’s ear about the importance to the State and to SA-China trade relations of allowing Marathon to mine uranium inside the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. And he won’t even have to buy a $3000 per head ticket to one of the Premier’s notorious fund-raising dinners. Schacht has done well for Marathon.
The opportunities will be all the better for the fact that the Chinese state investment company CITIC is equal second largest shareholder (with Queensland’s Talbot Group Holdings) in Marathon, each commanding 10.45% of the company’s shares. HSBC Custody Nominees (Australia) Ltd recently amalgamated previously separate share portfolios in the company to emerge as the largest shareholder with 13.1% of shares.
It will be the ideal environment for the current State Premier and the former Federal Senator to iron out the obstacles to Marathon resuming its exploration and drilling program.
(Schacht has a diverse range of talents. He is a leading figure in Australian and international volleyball circles, his son Andrew being a member of the Olympic team. Volleyball is second only to table tennis in sports popularity in China. Schacht, who had been a member of the Federal Government’s Defence Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade for 12 to 15 years, recently registered as a Federal lobbyist for Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus.)