BHP Appoints New Iron Ore President

Submitted by Jim Thesiger on 9 February, 2010 - 07:05

Chris Campbell, the ex- nickel executive has been appointed as the new iron ore president by mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP) as the merger of its West Australian iron ore projects with Rio Tinto gathers pace. The merger is expected to prompt top-level restructuring in the mining companies. Mr. Campbell, who was playing the lead role in the iron ore merger talks on behalf of BHP Billiton since last June will be replacing Ian Ashby. It is to be mentioned that the BHP-Rio iron ore merger is expected to allow both the companies to market 50 percent of their share of production. However, the merger needs to get the clearance from the European Union competition watchdog. BHP’s mission to eliminate the annual pricing structure of benchmark agreements and marketing iron ore is likely to be the largest part of the newly elected president’s brief. The announcement regarding the restructure took place only a few days after Rio Tinto declared the appointment of Ian Bauert as its China managing director.

While Sam Walsh, the iron ore chief of Rio Tinto is taking the post of chairman for the new joint venture, who will manage the marketing of iron ore for Rio Tinto once the join venture is underway is yet to be decided. According to a Rio spokesman, the replacement for Mr. Bauert is expected to be determined through a series of discussion.

Mr. Campbell is expected to be in charge of BHP’s join venture that involves Brazil based mining giant Vale along with another proposed joint venture with Arcelor-Mittal in West Africa. He is likely to play the leading role for BHP in any business opportunities outside WA. Mr. Campbell will also join the four member BHP representative team in an owner’s council that will be responsible for supervising the join venture which is likely to become effective during the second half of the year depending on the approvals.