December 11, 2009 / 2:19 AM / 10 years ago

Rio Tinto names new Asia iron ore negotiator

SYDNEY, Dec 11 (Reuters) - World No. 2 iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc (RIO.AX)(RIO.L) has named a new chief iron ore negotiator as talks get underway over next year’s prices and volumes.

Danny Goeman has been appointed marketing general manager of Rio Tinto’s Asian iron ore division, Rio Tinto spokesman Tony Shaffer said by telephone from Melbourne on Friday.

This comes at the same time as China changes its lead negotiator for iron ore talks, after the China Iron and Steel Association failed to achieve a settlement with miners for 2009/10 contracts in often acrimonious negotiations.

Leading Chinese steel maker Baosteel will take back the lead in contract iron ore price negotiations in 2010, the China Daily newspaper reported this week.

Baosteel was traditionally the major negotiator with miners Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton (BHP.AX)BLT.L and Vale VALE5.SA, but it was replaced by CISA before 2009 talks.

However, this year’s talks collapsed in acrimony with CISA unwilling to accept the 33 percent price cut agreed by the three mining giants with Japanese steel mills.

China in August arrested four Rio Tinto executives including the head of its ore unit in China, Stern Hu, for allegedly stealing commercial secrets.

Iron ore prices are forecast to rise between 10 percent and 30 percent this year to reflect higher steel production in Asia after prices declined by 33 percent to 44 percent this year. (Editing by Michael Urquhart)

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