BHP and Rio Tinto accused of sending junior miners to the wall

junior minerBHP and Rio Tinto have been accused of deliberately sending junior iron ore miners to the wall by West Australian Premier Colin Barnett.

This latest verbal volley comes after the Premier on Tuesday, accused the two big iron ore miners of working “in concert” to over supply the market, drive prices down and force junior miners out of the market. The Premier also suggested BHP and Rio should “remember who their landlord is” in reference to what he claimed were questionable business practices in his state.

Yesterday Barnett sought to quell the mounting storm, denying that he was insinuating the two companies were colluding.

“The companies are not behaving, as some have suggested, in a collusive way,” the Premier told state parliament on Wednesday.

“But they are employing a very similar policy, probably for their own reasons but maybe the same reasons, which I think is damaging to the West Australian economy, to the iron ore industry, to the small iron ore producers and the people they employ.”

“If the price of iron ore stays at its low level or falls further there will be West Australian mining companies that will no doubt go into loss situations and they will, in the worst case scenario, be forced to close with the loss of thousands of West Australian jobs,” Mr Barnett told parliament on Wednesday.

The price of iron ore has dropped by 40 percent this year.

 

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