US ambitions to break China’s dominance of green energy supply chains are “great for the world” as long as tensions don’t lead to war, said iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest.
The chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer, said it was healthy for competitors to challenge China’s dominance of sectors like renewable energy, electric vehicles and battery metal processing “provided it’s commercial and competitive.”
“Where it’ll come unglued is if there’s geopolitical, geomilitary incursions,” Forrest said in an interview with Bloomberg TV from Shanghai on Wednesday. “That would be shortsighted to the extreme. There’s no other word but stupid which could be applied to that.”
Forrest, who is Australia’s richest person and an aspiring producer of green hydrogen, downplayed gloomy economic data on China’s real estate sector. “In the cities I go to in China, the skyline is still peppered by cranes,” he said. His bullishness echoed comments made last week by Vandita Pant, chief commercial officer at fellow Australian iron ore miner BHP Group Ltd.
Iron ore has fallen below $100 a ton in recent weeks, a level last seen before China, the world’s top buyer of iron ore, ended its Covid Zero policy in December. Since then, the nation’s economic recovery has disappointed expectations.
(By James Fernyhough and Yvonne Man, with assistance from Adrian Wong)