POLISH AUSTRALIAN

BUSINESS FORUM



"Some people never forgave us because we didn’t tell anyone. We were supposed to go to our cousin’s in northeast of Poland for holidays but we only went to the railway station and took the train to Vienna. We never thought anything would change in Poland in terms of system for next maybe 10, 15 or 20 years. And as it happened, when we were in Austria, we saw the first strikes in southern Poland. But by then, it was too late to go back."


TAD WATROBA

Executive Director at Hancock Prospecting Group

Tad Watroba is Executive Director at Hancock Prospecting Group – a leading mining company in Australia and arguably the world. Together with Gina Rinehart and a small, tight-knit team, he has been instrumental of taking this privately owned company from its already successful beginning under Lang Hancock, through spectacular growth. 

For over 30 years, Tad has been a pillar of Hancock Prospecting – a company that holds the mineral rights to some of the largest mining and exploration leases in the Pilbara, Queensland, Victoria, Northern Territory as well as in Ecuador. He was cooperatively responsible for moving the company towards being one of the largest-scale exporters of iron ore to China.

His passion for mining began with his childhood love for the stories and celebrations around the Polish mining industry. This ultimately led him to managing high level mining operations, mine planning, feasibility studies, project financial evaluation as well as negotiations, business development and joint venture participation around the world. 

This career transition onto the international stage started with him leaving Poland for Australia with his young family, which was an enormous step that came with its own challenges.


  • Supported the chairperson for over 30 years in the development of the largest private companies in the world including moving the company from an exploration company into a multi-million tonnes per annum iron ore mining company

  • Signed the joint venture with Rio Tinto to develop the Hope Downs tenements

  • Founded and operated as the head Executive Member of ANDEV – Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision – including the writing of a white paper to lay out the strategies to reduce red tape and taxes to assist Australian companies to compete in world markets and more successfully export to maintain the Australian living standards

  • Negotiated with Roy Hill partners to form a new, independent iron ore company with its own rail and port facilities

  • Negotiated with four Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) and the biggest international investment banks resulting in the largest project finance in the world for a mainland resource project without limited owners’ guarantees

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