Rinehart: Rio Tinto should “move to Australia”

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New chief executive asked to relocate Rio Tinto’s HQ to Australia.

British-Australian miners Rio Tinto’s new chief executive, Sam Walsh, has been told to move its headquarters to Australia by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart, arguing that it will benefit “shareholders who have seen much diminution in value via investments in risky countries, and for the benefit of Australia, which given its increasing debts, greatly needs”.

Ms Rinehart, recently named the world’s richest woman and executive chair of rival miners Hancock Prospecting, called on fellow Australian Mr Walsh to take “this opportunity and also move the Rio Tinto headquarters from London to Perth where given most of Rio Tinto’s revenue is generated in Australia, it logically belongs”.

She continued by saying that “we also hope other Australians will join our call that now that there is an Australian CEO for Rio Tinto, and given the history of mainly success for Rio Tinto’s projects in Australia, a renewed emphasis will be undertaken by Rio Tinto to reinvest more of the profits it earns in Australia”.

A prominent opponent of the Australian government environmental policies Mr Reinhart added that no “uncompetitive carbon tax springs to mind as one example to help interest in investment and reduce the increasing problem and very great concern of Australia’s diminishing cost competitiveness”.

Rio Tinto, which is listed on the London, Australian and New York Exchanges, is currently based in London and has interests in precious metals, minerals and iron ore and reported total revenue of US$60.53bn, and a profit of US$5.286bn, in 2011.

Previously responsible for Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations, Mr Walsh is a noted antiques collector and commented that people “think of miners as people with pick-axes and shovels, but that is no longer the case” and instead stated it “is a very sophisticated, high-tech business”.

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