Andrew Forrest is a bundle of contradictions. He is a man who professes his love for Aboriginal people, but plays tough when they stand in the way of his mines.
He is a free-marketeer who went close to arguing for an industry cartel, and a generous philanthropist, who has shackled his charities to his commercial interests. This year, Mr Forrest has been calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the iron ore market.
Twiggy is standing up for the battlers and the national interest against “multinationals” BHP and Rio Tinto, he says, who have deliberately driven down the iron ore price.
He has accused them of talking down the price and of pumping out too much volume. Leave aside the inconvenient fact that no company is more responsible for the expansion of iron ore exports in recent years than his.
There is much to admire about the man they call Twiggy (a moniker, owing to his surname Forrest, he has been stuck with since childhood).
His entrepreneurial abilities have made him a billionaire and he is pledging to give away nearly all his wealth during his lifetime.
He built a major mining company out of nothing, acquiring tenements BHP and Rio Tinto had discarded, and fashioned Fortescue Metals Group into the fourth largest iron exporter in the world.
He has a genuine social conscience and has dedicated considerable time and personal resources to issues such as Indigenous disadvantage.
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