Andrew Forrest’s optimistic view of the mining industry is undoubtedly one of his most noticeable traits. This optimism has driven the growth of Fortescue Metals Group from an ambitious exploration and development company in 2003 to the world’s fourth largest iron ore producer today.
It is what has made ‘Twiggy’ one of the most well-known and enduring personalities in Australian mining. And it is one reason why he has been honoured with the Liebherr Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
As Fortescue’s inaugural chairman, then chief executive officer and now chairman once more, Forrest has guided the company into a powerhouse of the Pilbara. The Perth-based company today produces 170 million tonnes of iron ore a year from its Pilbara mine sites. Its focus on productivity and improving efficiencies has helped it become the lowest cost seaborne provider of iron ore into China.
Forrest’s achievements as Fortescue’s leader have, however, covered a number of areas important to mining. For all of the company’s economic and operational successes, he most fondly speaks of the achievements that have helped increase diversity and improve the public perception of the industry.
“We employ almost 15 per cent Indigenous people (and) a good quarter of our ranks are women,” Forrest explains by video recording at the Prospect Awards gala dinner.
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