HOTLINE: Reasons to be cheerful, by Rio Tinto’s Sam

Rio Tinto ceo Sam Walsh has reassured mining enthusiasts that there is more to the industry today than low prices and lacklustre deal activity.

Rio Tinto ceo Sam Walsh has reassured mining enthusiasts that there is more to the industry today than low prices and lacklustre deal activity.

Speaking to more than 500 attendees at the Melbourne Mining Club dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on Wednesday July 1, he cut a confident, approachable figure, inviting questions and bantering wittily.

“Don’t call me Mr Walsh,” he told one of the enquirers from the podium. “Even my grandchildren call me Sam.”

There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful, for those who can look beyond the short term, Sam went on.

China’s economy will grow more in the next ten years than it has in the last 25, he said. Africa’s population will double by 2050, by which time another 2.5 billion people globally will have moved to an urban environment creating a sizeable infrastructure deficit.

“The world will need many more Oyu Tolgois [mines], so Jean-Sébastien Jacques, our head of copper, get a move on,” he said.

Someone who had spotted officials from Glencore and X2 among the guests asked Sam if any of their chequebooks might be taken out later in the evening, following M&A speculation in the coal market.

“If you have a decent-sized cheque book, we’d be pleased to sit down and talk to you. I just hope you’ve had a good conversation with X2 and Glencore, so I can find out what they’re thinking,” he said.

Women in Mining then asked what Rio planned to do to get more women into the industry. Sam explained that women are inclined to undersell themselves and men are inclined to do the opposite. He also lamented the lack of women in management roles and said Rio’s workforce comprises 18% women, missing out on 32% of talent.

“Women have to be more flexible and take a risk, and we have to take a risk by putting them in those roles,” he added.

A rather clumsy way of putting it, Sam, but we get your drift.

Janie Davies
jdavies@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @janiedavies_mb

What to read next
Following a six-week consultation period, Fastmarkets can confirm it will amend the calculation method for all the average functions on the Fastmarkets platform from Wednesday March 1, 2023.
Consolidation, the recycling of electric vehicle batteries, US steel exports and the benefits of sustainable steelmaking were key talking points at Fastmarkets’ Scrap & Steel 2023 conference in Dallas in January
Green shoots of increased demand will emerge in US ferrous markets courtesy of the Biden administration’s trillion-dollar infrastructure package in 2023, Schnitzer’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer Richard Peach said at Fastmarkets’ Steel and Scrap Conference 2023 in Dallas, Texas
US special bar quality steel prices rose in January in line with rising scrap and alloy costs, according to market participants
European metal industry association Eurometaux has called on the European Commission to follow the lead shown by the Inflation Reduction Act and deliver a “powerful” policy to support the industry in the EU while it tries to keep up with the move to a new generation of energy markets
The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is changing global trade flows for bauxite, with Brazilian material once again flowing into China and with the introduction of export restrictions elsewhere likely to influence availability through 2023
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
Proceed