South32 entry good for Perth

AMID the doom and gloom, Perth yesterday celebrated the addition of a new global company, South32, to be headquartered in Australia’s resources capital.

Kristie Batten

Despite huge presences in Perth, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are based in Melbourne, so South32, as Australia’s fourth-largest listed miner, will be the city’s largest mining company ahead of Fortescue Metals Group.

South32 chairman David Crawford said the resources expertise in Perth underpinned the company’s decision to select it as the company’s global base.

“It’s no accident that we’ve headquartered South32 in this city, whose very fabric is interwoven with the resources industry,” he said yesterday.

“I think Perth’s the right place to base our business – it is the resource capital, it’s in the centre of where we need to be for our assets,” South32 CEO Graham Kerr added.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion attended the company’s listing ceremony yesterday and said he was delighted the company had selected Perth as its base.

“On behalf of the Western Australian state government, I’d like to welcome the world’s newest global mining company to Perth, Western Australia,” he said.

“I look forward to watching a new WA company prosper and grow over the years.”

And the formation of South32 will also change Perth’s skyline, with the company to take the naming rights of the old Bankwest tower on St Georges Terrace after signing a 10-year, $A10 million lease.

Around 400 South32 employees will move into the building next week.

South32’s Dave Richardson, who also came up with the company’s name, said work was already meant to have started on the sign, but was delayed due to Perth’s heavy rainfall over the weekend.

A few may have noticed the BHP sign being removed from the top of its Perth headquarters at Brookfield Place, but the timing is purely coincidental.

“BHP Billiton is making changes to the sign on top of our building at 125 St Georges Terrace,” a BHP spokeswoman said.

“Modifications to improve the sign’s performance, reduce maintenance requirements and incorporate the use of solar powered LED lights for improved energy efficiency will be made.”