News Wrap

IN News Wrap this morning: Woodside role could be on Sam Walsh's retirement agenda; Macquarie in the running for Hanking Gold’s IPO; and Rinehart's Roy Hill bullish on iron ore prices.

Kristie Batten

Woodside role could be on Sam Walsh's retirement agenda

The Australian Financial Review reports that outgoing Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh will move to his former home of Perth to begin life as a non-executive director, with sources suggesting he will be considered as a successor to long-serving Woodside Energy chairman Michael Chaney.

Woodside declined to comment on whether Walsh would be considered as a successor to Chaney, but Chaney has been in the chairman’s role for nine years and as such it is expected the board would have given some thought to succession planning.

Chaney retired as chairman of National Australia Bank in December, after taking the chairmanship at Wesfarmers a month earlier.

Walsh, who is 66 years old, is understood to have recently bought property in Perth.

Macquarie in the running for Hanking Gold’s IPO

Macquarie is believed to be in the box seat to win the right to manage the initial public offering of Chinese-backed Australian producer Hanking Gold Mining, ahead of what could be the largest local resources IPO in several years.

While no formal appointment has been made, The Weekend Australian understands that Macquarie’s Perth office has been earmarked for the role ahead of a possible spin-off later this year.

Hanking, which is owned by Hong Kong-listed China Hanking Holdings, operates the historic Southern Cross gold operations west of Kalgoorlie, which are forecast to produce 155,000 ounces of gold this year.

Rinehart’s Roy Hill bullish on iron ore prices

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting expects iron ore prices to remain above $US50 a tonne this year with robust demand from China boosting returns from the $10 billion Roy Hill mine, according to The Age.

Rinehart and senior Hancock executives will attend a ceremony in China on Thursday to mark the first supplies of ore to the country from Roy Hill.

The billionaire's most trusted lieutenant, Hancock executive director Tad Watroba, told Fairfax Media the iron ore market was likely to stabilise at current levels – after hitting a record low of $US38/t in December – as recent volatility subsides.

"We are hopeful it will stay around the $US55 to $US60 a tonne range for the rest of the year," Watroba said.