Fortescue founder asks Australians to fight Rio, BHP iron ore plans – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – May 11, 2015)

SYDNEY – May 11 Fortescue Metals Group Chairman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest on Monday called on Australians to urge the government to stop expansion plans by iron ore miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, saying they were jeopardizing the economy.

The plea by the billionaire philanthropist and founder of the world’s fourth-biggest iron ore miner was condemned by the national mining lobby, the Minerals Council of Australia, for threatening to set the country on an “interventionist path.”

Forrest has accused Rio and BHP of over-producing to drive out competitors from the $60 billion-a-year Chinese import market despite Fortescue quadrupling its own production in the last seven years.

“These big companies say they must flood the market next year and the year after and the year after even though it will crash the price further,” Forrest said in an editorial in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “Every time they say this the price falls again.”

Iron ore prices .IO62-CNI=SI are trading off their lows at $60.50, but still 55-percent under last year’s peak. For every $1 price fall, the Australian economy lost A$800 million ($632 million) in foreign income, according to Forrest.

“Write, e-mail or ring your local MP (member of parliament),” Forrest said. “Ask government to consider the multinationals’ license to operate in Australia if they don’t market Australian iron ore responsibly for all Australians.”

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