Pollster Gary Morgan finds gold in a deep hole called Haoma

After being temporarily turfed from his offices on Melbourne's Collins Street just before Christmas, Pollster Gary Morgan, may have been hoping for better news from the gold miner which has soaked up the fortune he made from Roy Morgan Research. 

Haoma Mining's quarterly activities report, which was released Monday, certainly had some promise.  

Anti-CSG protestors present letters to the Sydney office of Santos' new chief executive, Kevin Gallagher.
Anti-CSG protestors present letters to the Sydney office of Santos' new chief executive, Kevin Gallagher. Photo: Edwina Pickles

For the moment, let's overlook the $1.83 million before tax loss for the three months ending December 31, and the fact that it burnt through $521,000 of operating cash for the quarter, leaving it with $15,000 cash. 

Haoma said its first production run at Bamboo Creek Pilot Plant "has been successful". 

Illustration: John Shakespeare.
Illustration: John Shakespeare. 

The revolutionary extraction method, which is provided free of charge by another Morgan company, Elazac, has produced a bullion bar with 195 grammes of gold, it reports.

Which means, any day now it might be able to address the $63 million mountain of debt, and accrued interest, it now owes to Roy Morgan Research. 

Softly Santos

The new Santos chief executive, Kevin Gallagher, knew he had to tread carefully with a day of protest planned for his Monday debut at the energy group. 

Conservation groups like Lock The Gate, Knitting Nannas Against Gas, and the Wilderness Society were planning protests around the nation. 

It looks like the dozen bodies who turned up at the Sydney HQ were not so intimidating after all.

Gallagher's minions allowed them into the building, and said Gallagher would even make time to read the letter that was being presented to him. Softly, softly.  

Cash Poll 

Clive Palmer's political donations to Clive Palmer grabbed the headlines again on Monday morning with the release of the annual political donations list.

If the disclosurefest is anything to go by, Clive obviously wasn't counting on such a major slowdown in China. 

He was pumping cash out of Queensland Nickel, and into Palmer United, as late as June last year. At the same time he was writing up the book value of its nickel assets by more than $1 billion. 

Six months later, he was forced to go, cap in hand, to the Queensland government for a bailout, and then call in the corporate paramedics when that failed.

But at least Palmer got to control his political cash giving. 

Billionairess Gina Rinehart was forced to watch through gritted teeth yet again as Hancock Coal Pty Ltd, which she partly-owns, donated $22,000 to Labor. 

India's GVK, which owns 79 per cent of Hancock Coal, is responsible for that decision.

The best Rinehart could do was balance the ledger by donating $22,000 to the Nationals via Hancock Prospecting.

She was not the only rich lister favouring the conservative cause. 

Australia's recently gonged barrister/rich lister/cattle rancher, Allan Myers, QC, handed $27,500 to the Victorian Libs, while ad man Harold Mitchell splashed more than $200,000 on the Libs in Victorian and Canberra. 

The estate of the late Paul Ramsay also coughed up $125,000 for the Libs, while CBD spied the name of Macquarie founder Robin Crawford making a modest $1000 donation to the party. 

Kerry Stokes' Seven West Media did not mind a bit of political bias with a $13,000 donation to the Libs. 

But there were some interesting names squaring the ledger. 

The embattled listed legal group Slater and Gordon gave Labor $36,000, and the Rupert Murdoch-controlled Foxtel handed $18,500 to Labor as well. Frank Lowy's Westfield was also on the leftie side of the ledger with a $10,000 donation to Labor. 

CBD favourite Cabcharge can't be accused of being parochial: Last year, the taxi payment provider's $150,000 worth of political largesse was almost exclusively targeted at the Libs and their conservative cousins in Queensland. 

The year before, $175,000 was showered on to the political parties in NSW, with the Libs accounting for $160,000 of the loot. 

The year before that, Cabcharge made a single donation of $100,000 to the Libs in Canberra. 

Just as interesting was the disclosure from James Packer's Crown Resorts. CBD spied plenty of donations to the major political parties in WA and Victoria. Missing from the list was any donations in NSW – where he is about to build a major casino – and in Queensland, where he was heavily campaigning to build one. 

Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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