Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Metals, says he’s not retreating from his suggestion that the major iron ore miners put a ceiling on production.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating whether Forrest breached anti-competition laws in his comments at a function in Shanghai.
Forrest says his competitors, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, are throwing more tonnes into an already-glutted iron ore marketplace.
“If you have read my comment given in a Chatham House Rule private environment in a private club (on Tuesday), then I can say I am not stepping back from them at all. They were driven by the market share over shareholder value argument that we are in right now,” Forrest told The Australian Financial Review from China.
He suggested he would put a cap on Fortescue’s production if other companies would do the same.
Forrest says he is “absolutely” confident that section 51(2)(g) of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act allows him to propose the production cap he has floated.
“It is an exemption encouraging Australian exporters to act in Australia’s interest,” he told The Fin.
Iron ore prices have been falling over the last 12 months from more than $100 a tonne to about $55 a tonne.
And Fortescue’s share price has dropped from more than $5 a share to about $2.