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Orica CEO: It's critical to keep mining exports going

8 Apr 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous

Orica boss Alberto Calderon has been charting the global spread of coronavirus on a daily basis from his deserted office in east Melbourne. 

With operations in over 100 countries, staying a step ahead is proving no small feat. 

"It's been crazy," Calderon tells The Weekend Australian. "Governments around the world are making decisions and the consequences could not be any bigger." The next phase will likely see governments make some tough decisions on segregation, according to Calderon. 

As Australian corporates scramble to draw up emergency plans to deal with business shutdowns, Calderon has been focused on ensuring the explosives maker can keep operating through the market turmoil. 

Half of Australia's mines depend on Orica to keep their production running through its supply of bulk explosives and detonator systems. 

In recent days Calderon has spoken to his former colleague Mike Henry at BHP, Rio Tinto's Jean-Sebastien Jacques and Newcrest Mining chief Sandeep Biswas to trade the latest intelligence on the global mining market. 

The nation's big resources players have been tracking COVID-19 closely since its emergence in China, given the country accounts for half the world's commodity demand. 

Calderon has also been working to match up each country's official virus data with anecdotal reports from his 12,000-strong workforce scattered across the globe. Encouragingly, many of the world's major mines - including Australia's iron ore, coal and gold industries — remain open and at peak production with backing from the federal government to operate as an essential service. 

Orica says it's critical the flow of mining exports and supply chain routes can keep trading their way through unprecedented volatility. 

"I'm in permanent communication with our big clients. We have said to the government we understand we need to keep people safe but we also need to keep this industry open or the whole thing will collapse," Calderon said. 


200403 AC The Australian v2 (2).pdf

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