The Straits Times
Published on Nov 23, 2012

Cut costs to survive, Australian tycoon Rinehart says


SYDNEY (AFP) - Mining tycoon Ms Gina Rinehart has warned Australia needs to rein in business costs to remain competitive and avoid heading for a European-style crisis.

The iron ore magnate, chairman of Hancock Prospecting and the world's richest woman, said people would not buy Australian produce "because we're nice people".

"They're going to buy our produce if we keep our costs down," she said at the launch of her book, "Northern Australia and Then Some", in Sydney on Thursday evening.

Australian mining projects have faced headwinds from depressed conditions in Europe and the United States, softening growth in China and increased competition from other producers as well as falling commodity prices. The price of iron ore, a crucial ingredient in steelmaking, has fallen dramatically in recent months as the Chinese economy slows, while the price of coal, another major Australian export, has also dropped sharply.