Time Canberra stopped RIO building the Pilbara Killer

The ferrous complex was mixed on May 5, 2022:

Sadly, CBA has stopped publishing the iron ore spot price so Straya now has no open-source for its most important commodity price. I will try to find a new one.

This is ridiculous:

Rio Tinto looks set to spend billions of dollars on rail and port infrastructure to bring Guinea’s Simandou iron ore province to market after CEO Jakob Stausholm said it would be “dangerous” to allow ownership of the transport infrastructure to be separated from the mines.

China has long wanted to build an iron ore province in the Simandou mountains to reduce its reliance on Australian iron ore but the $US12 billion ($16.6 billion) to $US20 billion cost of transport infrastructure has thwarted the project for decades.

…Thursday’s annual meeting of Rio shareholders in Melbourne signalled the start of Dominic Barton’s reign as chairman.

Mr Barton is a China expert after serving the past three years as Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, and he said on Thursday he did not think there was any immediate prospect of military conflict between China and western nations.

“I don’t think we are anywhere near that type of situation,” he said. “While countries can have some tough relationships and challenges and I experienced that directly myself between the Canada and China relationship for the last three years, our trade, and investment actually went up.”

Responding to a question about under what scenario Rio would stop selling iron ore into China’s “war machine”, Mr Barton said China would be much harder to extricate from the global economy than Russia has been this year after its attack on Ukraine.

In other words, Mr Barton is willfully blind. We all know that Australian iron ore will stop the moment China invades Taiwan. If it doesn’t the US will do it for us.

Australia should probably be threatening to pull the iron ore trade right now as China occupies the South Pacific via its Solomons axis.

But why would that bother a Canadian? Canada lives under the US nuclear and military umbrellas. It is at zero risk of Chinese occupation.

Why should Mr Barton and RIO be allowed to build Simandou? It will devastate the iron ore price and significantly reduce Canberra’s leverage over Beijing. And to what end? Enriching a Canadian while Australia’s commodity take is devastated.

Sure, the JV could find another partner. But it should not be Australian and isn’t likely to be Vale given its dubious history with the project. So it will not be easy to find. Especially since the legal wrangles will take years to sort out. By then iron ore should be falling hard anyway and make the project moot.

Mr Barton and RIO are operating as if Davos Man still runs the world with the approval of the liberal societies that created them.

I’ve got news for him. That regime is dead and in its place is a life and death struggle between the US liberal empire and the Chinese illiberal version.

RIO needs to decide whose side it is on. If it won’t, then Canberra must force it to.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. Know IdeaMEMBER

    I would like to think you are right. However, when I reflect upon what happened the last time a sitting government took on the mining industry, I am not so sure our elites would decide to head in the direction you have suggested.

  2. cZ0mzqFILC8zoVHqMEMBER

    Wow, that was harsh, and I thought we had always spoken very highly of you- don’t hate us just because we are beautiful, eh!

  3. pfh007.comMEMBER

    “..It will devastate the iron ore price and significantly reduce Canberra’s leverage over Beijing. ..”

    When has Australia made ANY use of its position as a supplier of iron ore to China?

    We have allowed the three major miners to compete against each other with our iron ore and to export as much as they can stuff on to ships.

    The iron ore price would already be the cellar but for China’s hunger to build a century’s worth of fixed investment in a generation.

    China certainly don’t act like a country that with its iron demand balls in a firm Aussie clench.

    When it comes to iron ore Canberra is about as fierce as a toothless old moggy.

    • BubbleyMEMBER

      “Canberra’s leverage over Beijing” is the other way around.

      I remember the Aus gov sweating when China refused to land Aussie coal ships, leaving them in limbo outside of ports.

  4. But why would that bother a Canadian?

    I would suspect his decisions comes about from being a Rio Tintian, rather than a Canadian.

    Canada lives under the US nuclear and military umbrellas. It is at zero risk of Chinese occupation.

    Why should Mr Barton and RIO be allowed to build Simandou?

    Because they’re acting in the best Interests of Rio Tinto??

    It will devastate the iron ore price

    Which is what the buyers of iron ore want,,,

    and significantly reduce Canberra’s leverage over Beijing. And to what end? Enriching a Canadian while Australia’s commodity take is devastated.

    or… enriching Rio Tinto.. .which I highly suspect is the fiduciary duty of a Rio Tinto chairman…

    Sure, the JV could find another partner. But it should not be Australian and isn’t likely to be Vale given its dubious history with the project.

    It isn’t Australia, it’s Rio Tinto.

    You’re conflating the interests of Australia, and the interests of Rio Tinto as being aligned.

  5. Muttafukaburrasaurus.MEMBER

    Neo-liberal diplomatic approach is entirely focussed on trade and making money.
    They are not capable of realising that they are selling out the very basis of their representative nations power every time they enter in to an agreement (they think) with an authoritarian state.

  6. Australia has done nothing but undermine Australians for 20 years. Why would that change now under the
    parties and politicians that over 60% of people still insist on preferencing first?

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