Some readers of last week’s BRW magazine cover story might have felt a sense of deja vu all over again. Richard Roberts’s “Moving Target” looked at the sources of capital for “another brilliant generation of mining technology companies”.

There was only one problem: sections of the article had already been published elsewhere, in some cases word for word.

In a segment about Mincom, a technology firm which supplies products to the mining industry, Roberts talks about the company “adding … sales and profits through overseas acquisitions of its own.” An article written by Roberts, published in early August on miningnews.net and titled “Mincom flags more mine software action”, appears to be the original source of the text.

Comments about the company’s operations and a series of identical quotes from Mincom chief executive Richard Matthews reappear in the BRW piece. Subscribers pay $242.00 a year for access to miningnews.net’s premium content.

Miningnews.net is not the only place sections of the article previously appeared. Roberts is the editor of Highgrade.net, “a fortnightly mining newsletter bringing you deeper exploration, project, mining and technology news and information”. Information, that is, which subscribers, who paid $2.50 for the newsletter, would have read again – unchanged – had they purchased the 31 August edition of BRW.

In the 24 July edition of the Highgrade.net newsletter, Roberts talks about “another company enjoying historically high sales and employment levels, Ballarat-based Gekko Systems.” Following that introduction, readers of both the newsletter and the BRW article will find at least eight identical paragraphs about Gekko appearing in both articles.

Roberts told Crikey highgrade.net is a young site without a substantial readership in the mining industry… yet. “Information presented by Highgrade does not get anywhere near the mining sector audience currently getting access to BRW and the pieces were prepared for different audiences. Two years from now, it’s my hope Highgrade will be reaching the entire mining sector.”

Still, given that Roberts’s article was published in the first issue of the “totally new BRW” — which promises to “match the times and the information needs of our time-poor business audience” — you have to wonder why those interested in specialist subjects like mining technology would bother reading BRW if publishes information already published into the industry, often word for word.

When Crikey contacted BRW this morning, editor Kevin Chinnery chose not to comment.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW