Twiggy’s ri­vals ques­tioned

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

Fortes­cue Met­als Group chair­man An­drew For­rest has ac­cused the iron ore miners Pil­bara ri­vals of high-grad­ing their WA de­posits, putting the long term fu­ture of the State’s min­ing in­dus­try at risk.

Mr For­rest’s com­ments risk a restart of last year’s iron ore war of words, when Fortes­cue launched a se­ries of at­tacks on BHP Bil­li­ton and Rio Tinto for over­sup­ply­ing global com­mod­ity mar­kets and driv­ing down iron ore prices.

Mr For­rest told Fortes­cue share­hold­ers the com­pany’s move to ben­e­fi­ci­ate ore from its own mines, to drive up ex­port grades and at the same time lower its min­ing costs, should be seen as a re­spon­si­ble move to pre­serve WA’s in­dus­try in the long term.

While he did not name BHP and Rio, he told Fortes­cue’s an­nual share­holder meet­ing that he be­lieved the com­pany’s Pil­bara peers were not act­ing re­spon­si­bly in their own op­er­a­tions.

“If you just mine the easy stuff, and send it straight to a ship which we see our peers do­ing, and they gloat about their high grade. I say ‘well, ac­tu­ally, what you are gloat­ing about is that in your chief ex­ec­u­tive-ship, or in your chair­man­ship, you have to tick a box and you don’t ac­tu­ally care about the next guy or your chil­dren or your grand­chil­dren,” he said.

An­drew For­rest. Pic­ture: Ian Munro/The West Aus­tralian“Be­cause you wouldn’t do that, you wouldn’t take the jam off the Pil­bara toast of your chil­dren. You would take take ev­ery tonne of iron ore you could and you would put it through a plant which would eke it out and pre­serve those ore bod­ies for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“And that’s what we do at Fortes­cue, and I’m re­ally proud of that.”

Fortes­cue to­day an­nounced the next phase of its board re­gen­er­a­tion with Owen He­garty and Ge­off Raby set to step down from the com­pany’s board in com­ing months, in favour of for­mer Leighton ex­ec­u­tive Penny Bing­ham-Hall and Deloitte part­ner Jen­nifer Mor­ris.

Mr For­rest paid trib­ute to Mr He­garty and Mr Raby at the an­nual share­holder meet­ing, say­ing both men had made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Fortes­cue’s devel­op­ment and growth.

He also wel­comed Ms Bing­hamHall and Ms Mor­ris to the board.

Mr For­rest said he was proud that Fortes­cue would be­come the first ASX-200 com­pany to have a ma­jor­ity of women on its board after the chang­out was com­plete.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis An­drew For­rest

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