St Barbara has claimed the 2017 Diggers and Dealers Digger Award for delivering stakeholders “strong equity growth” after ongoing performance and development.

The gong, presented at last night’s gala dinner closing this year’s forum, acknowledged the company’s recent resilience.

It was one of two highlights for St Barbara independent non-executive chairman Tim Netscher, who occupies the same position at Gold Road Resources — the winner of this year’s Dealer Award.

Gold Road was credited for taking a “mature” approach to development after the decision to accept Gold Fields proposal to purchase a 50 per cent share of its Gruyere gold project.

Mr Netscher was instrumental in St Barbara’s turnaround, with the company now reporting a $161million positive balance after producing more than 380 ounces of gold in the last financial year.

St Barbara managing director Bob Vassie said it was “very satisfying” the revival had been achieved with the people who were there when he joined.

“We didn’t add anyone in, we didn’t bring in a chief operating officer, we didn’t bring in any new executives or any consultants,” Mr Vassie said.

OceanaGold and Syrah Resources chairman Jim Askew was awarded the prestigious G.J. Stokes Memorial Award for his 30-year career in international exploration ventures.

Australian Financial Review journalist Tess Ingram won the media award, an accolade previously claimed by The West Australian scribes John Phaceas, Peter Klinger and Nick Evans.

WA School of Mines student Janelle McPhee snared the Ray Finlayson medal for leadership and academic excellence, while Kin Mining snared the emerging company honours.

Image: Diggers and Dealers conference 2017. Diggers award winners from left to right St Barbara CEO Bob Vassie, Gold Resources CEO Ian Murray and Gold Road and St Barbara Chairman Tim Netscher. The West Australian.