Barack Obama's Former Top Economic Adviser Will Be The Key Speaker At A Wild Meeting Of Miners And Bankers In The Australian Outback

Photo: Getty/ Chip Somodevilla

Austan Goolsbee, former chief economic adviser to Barack Obama, is the keynote speaker next week at the Diggers & Dealers conference in Western Australia — a flagship mining event known for its after-hours antics.

Held in the mining town of Kalgoorlie, the conference, which starts on August 5, attracts the big names in investment and the mining industry. Goolsbee is listed to give the opening address next Monday morning.

There are several high-profile speakers, who cover mining and commodities topics. But depending on who you ask, the real show happens when the sun sets.

Goolsbee is a distinguished economist. He was the youngest member of President Obama’s cabinet, and served in several high-profile advisory roles. He’s the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his name is regularly mentioned as a possible successor to Ben Bernanke as chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

And here’s what travel guide Lonely Planet says about the frontier town:

Kal still feels like the wild west: a frontier town where workers come straight from the mines to spend their disposable income and sit at the bars in their overalls. The “skimpie” staff serve beer in their underwear.

There are tattoos and gambling and brothels. The electronic display high on the Palace Hotel constantly flicks shares and the price of gold and nickel in a red horizontal stream.

But ultimately this is still a country town, with churches, schools and a community that these days relies as much on tourist gold as the mines.

Today the Australian Financial Review reported the conference, known “for its bravado and late night debauchery,” would have 400 fewer attendees than last year, as a result of falling commodity prices.

However, Diggers & Dealers chairman Barry Eldridge told the paper that it would still turn a profit.

Now read: Australian Manufacturing Could Bounce Back After The Mining Boom

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