Mining needs ‘funds rethink’
Rio Tinto chief executive JeanSebastian Jacques has floated the idea of communities and governments helping to pay for a mining project in exchange for a bigger slice of the income.
In a keynote speech to a mining conference in Melbourne today, Mr Jacques will call for a debate on the trade-off between profit and risk-taking.
“If a community or government wants a bigger share of the pie, they may need to be willing to take on more of the risk, that’s a really important part of our very capital- intensive industry,” he says.
“So, maybe there needs to be a new way of funding mining projects.
“As an industry, perhaps, it is time to think about a different business model — where we provide mining as a service and let other people finance projects that need billions in upfront investment, before the benefits can be shared.”
Mr Jacques says Rio Tinto would like to work with partners such as the World Bank and Harvard University on how best to share value from projects.
He will also talk of a need to change the barbecue conversation about mining, saying, for example, its portrayal in the Avatar movie made him “sad — or depending on the day — mad”.
“The world needs us and it is about time we stopped punching below our weight.”
The theme of his speech to the IMARC Conference is a need for the industry to reinvent itself.
The world needs us and it is about time we stopped punching below our weight. Jean-Sebastian Jacques