Founder and chairman of Fortescue Metals Group Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has launched a new campaign against the country’s largest producers Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
Mr Forrest believe the mining giants are “oversupplying” the market on iron ore and invites Australians to join the campaign, Our Iron Ore, which was officially launched on Sunday.
“The budget papers reveal $90 billion in economic activity has been lost to the Australian economy as a result of the fall in the iron ore price,” FMG CEO Nev Power said in a statement.
“Fortescue is concerned about the impact that the fall in iron ore prices is having on our industry and the broader economy and we don’t understand how Australia could possibly benefit from the strategies to oversupply the market and destroy so much value.
“We believe there should be an informed debate to question the repeated statement by the two multinationals that they would deliberately oversupply the market.“
The campaign has won the support of Prime Minister Tony Abbott who said that it is important to know what is happening in the iron ore sector.
“There are claims and counterclaims being made at the moment. I think it is important to get to the facts and an inquiry may well be a very good way of doing that,” Abbott said in a doorstop interview.
“If we are going to have an inquiry it has got to be a fair inquiry; it can’t be a witch hunt, it can’t be directed against any particular company or companies – it has got to be fair and square and reasonable.”
BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew MacKenzie has fired back at the parliamentary inquiry into the iron ore industry calling it a “ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money”.
He said a parliamentary inquiry was wasteful and would send a “terrible signal” to iron ore customers.