News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Rinehart urges Rio to relocate base and speed up expansion of Hope Downs; Rio tipped to placate investors with buyback; and Territorians hoping new Rio boss will save Gove.
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Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Sam Walsh and Gina Rinehart in the Pilbara

Lou Caruana

Rinehart urges Rio to speed up expansion of Hope Downs

Billionaire Gina Rinehart – the biggest single benefactor of Rio Tinto's vast West Australian iron ore operations – has called on new chief Sam Walsh to relocate the Britain-based miner's headquarters to her home town of Perth and speed expansion of their joint Hope Downs project, The Australian. reports.

Rinehart, who receives a royalty stream from some of the mega-miner’s Pilbara operations and has a 50% stake in the Rio-operated Hope Downs joint venture, said she was disappointed at Thursday's shock move to remove Rio chief Tom Albanese.

Rio expected to placate investors with a buyback

Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis says the Anglo-Australian mining giant will not diverge from its strategy of investing in frontier regions, despite expectations that new chief executive Sam Walsh will adopt a more cautious approach to approving new projects, the Australian Financial Review reports.

In conversations with large shareholders following last week’s shock announcement that Tom Albanese was being replaced immediately, Mr du Plessis said Rio would continue to invest in developing countries.

NT hopes new Rio boss will save Gove

Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills is hoping the change of leadership will pave the way for a solution to a problem that threatens an outback town, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The NT government has been seeking to cut a deal that will appease Rio Tinto, which, via its subsidiary, Pacific Aluminium, runs the Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery in the Territory's east.

The once-profitable operation has lost millions in recent years because of soft aluminium prices, the strong Australian dollar and the cost of running the refinery using diesel as fuel that must be shipped in.