PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday said that any inquiry into the Australian iron-ore sector would not be allowed to turn into a ‘witch hunt’.
“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.”
Abbott’s comments come as iron-ore miner Fortescue revealed its public campaign dubbed Our Iron Ore, which was aiming to gain public support against multinational companies operating in the Australian iron-ore industry.
Fortescue chairperson Andrew Forrest has previously called for an inquiry into the iron-ore sector, blaming majors BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto for flooding the market with their Pilbara product, and continuing their ramp-up strategies despite the fall in commodity prices.
Abbott said on Monday that while the Senate was considering an inquiry into the iron-ore sector, the government would not attempt to regulate a market, which was “working well”.
“The great thing about our resource sector is that it has become very, very successful and prosperous, it’s very good for all Australians and it has done all that because of the initiative and the creativity of business, of private business, of private individuals and the last thing we want to do is to crack down on people’s creativity,” the Prime Minister said.