Outgoing BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers says growth in the mining industry will slow over the next five years and companies will need to cut costs in order to stay profitable.
In an interview with ABC's Inside Business Kloppers said while demand from China was still strong, the growth the mining industry had seen over the past few years would decline in the future.
“I think over the next five years, we as Australians and at BHP Billiton are going to see very strong demand from China but we are going to go from growth rate in minerals demand of 15 to 20 per cent a year to two to four per cent a year,” he said.
“That means the suppliers will be able to respond and meet demand and therefore you have to be low cost and you have to take into account that price is not going to help you here.”
Kloppers is set to retire in May and in the same interview new CEO Andrew MacKenzie said keeping costs low would be a priority for BHP moving forward.
MacKenzie also said he was committed to “driving an agenda of productivity,” joining Anglo American's new CEO Mark Cutifani in outlining a new focus on the issue.
Kloppers said he had not been forced to resign from BHP, and a succession plan had been put in place at the start of his tenure.
He said 2013 was “definitely the right time” for him to move on from BHP.