Rio puts copper front and centre

Rio Tinto Perth building 1024x684 1


Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm has alluded to a future of growth amid industry speculation the major could have its eye on a bid to rival BHP’s grab for Anglo American.

Stausholm joined Rio chair Dominic Barton in addressing shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.

Barton emphasised Rio’s copper focus with the ramp up of the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, tipped to become the world’s fourth largest copper deposit.

“I am excited about our growth, particularly as we execute projects at scale, even in the most challenging of conditions,” Barton said.

“We are fortunate to have an incredible exploration team with a wealth of expertise and data, supported by one of the largest multi-commodity exploration budgets.”

A successful acquisition of Anglo would see BHP dominate the world’s copper market at a time when demand for the base metal is expected to grow exponentially as net-zero targets loom.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has speculated Rio could be a potential rival for BHP in a bid to diversify its portfolio with a bigger focus on copper.

With an eye firmly on boosting its copper coffers, Stausholm said Rio is well positioned to be a major player in the sector into the future.

“Rio Tinto is at the heart of the energy transition and therefore facing an opportunity-rich world,” he said.

“We are still seeing powerful traditional drivers of long-term demand, and our core markets are growing.”

While neither Stausholm nor Barton commented on whether Rio would be making a rival bid for Anglo American during the meeting, Stausholm alluded to a future of growth for the company.

“At the same time, emerging trends are opening up new opportunities for us to deliver value for you, our shareholders,” he said.

“As both a mining company and a processing company with a global footprint, we are well-positioned to realise those opportunities, working alongside our partners.”

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