Consolidated Gold Fields in Australia

Consolidated Gold Fields in Australia

The Rise and Decline of a British Mining House, 1926–1998

Authored by: Robert Porter

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Consolidated Gold Fields was a major British mining house founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1892. Diversifying from its South African gold interests, the company invested widely during the following century. This included investments in the Western Australian gold sector from the 1920s and exploration and mining activities elsewhere in Australia and the Territory of New Guinea. In the 1960s, Consolidated Gold Fields Australia (CGFA) was formed.

CGFA had ambitious plans and the financial backing from London to establish itself as one of the main diversified mining companies in Australia. Investments were held in the historic Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, in Renison, and it was one of the first groups to develop iron ore deposits in the Pilbara of Western Australia. It also acquired a major interest in mineral sands.

While the London-based Consolidated Gold Fields ceased to exist in 1989, taken over and dismembered by renowned corporate raider Hanson Plc, its Australian subsidiary, renamed Renison Goldfields Consolidated (RGC), continued for another nine years as a diversified mining group before it suffered its own corporate demise, facilitated by Hanson.

CGFA and RGC were important participants in Australia’s post–World War II mining sector. This book is a history of a once great British mining-finance house and its investments in Australia. Consolidated Gold Fields had a rich and broad history in Australia; its ultimate fate did not demonstrate its potential as an Australian mining company.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Apr 2020
ANU Press
Arts & Humanities: History

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Consolidated Gold Fields in Australia »

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Part One: Context—Consolidated Gold Fields (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. The Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa (PDF, 0.9MB) doi
  2. New Horizons for a British Mining House (PDF, 0.1MB) doi

Part Two: Early Investments in Australia (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. Western Australian Gold (PDF, 3.2MB) doi
  2. Broader Associations (PDF, 0.2MB) doi
  3. Lake George and New Guinea (PDF, 2.0MB) doi

Part Three: A New Force in Australian Mining 1960–1966 (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. A New Approach to Australia (PDF, 0.6MB) doi
  2. New Men and a New Model (PDF, 0.1MB) doi
  3. A Range of Investments (PDF, 3.1MB) doi

Part Four: Expansion, Consolidation and Restructuring 1966–1981 (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. Move to an Australian Shareholding (PDF, 0.2MB) doi
  2. Expansion and Consolidation 1966–1976 (PDF, 0.7MB) doi
  3. Acquisition and Diversification (PDF, 0.1MB) doi
  4. Portfolio Challenges (PDF, 0.6MB) doi
  5. Portfolio Review 1975–1981 (PDF, 0.6MB) doi

Part Five: A Majority Australian Owned Mining Company 1981–1989 (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. Formation of a Diversified Mining Company (PDF, 0.1MB) doi
  2. The Initial Years (PDF, 1.6MB) doi
  3. New Interests and Diversification (PDF, 0.4MB) doi
  4. The Challenges of the Parent (PDF, 0.4MB) doi

Part Six: The Final Decade 1990–1998 (PDF, 0.1MB)

  1. Hanson on the Register (PDF, 0.4MB) doi
  2. Tumultuous Years 1990–1994 (PDF, 0.2MB) doi
  3. Final Years (PDF, 0.2MB) doi
  4. The End of an Era (PDF, 0.1MB) doi


‘This is a fascinating and well written history of a company and period in Australian mining. It is recommended reading for anyone who worked in the industry during this time, and anyone interested in mining finance.’
–Tony Weston, Bulletin, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, February 2021. Read the full review on the AusIMM website.

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