MinRes MD rises from Pilbara businessman to billionaire

The Iron Valley site. Image: Mineral Resources

Mineral Resources (MinRes) managing director Chris Ellison has become Australia’s newest billionaire, thanks to a surge in iron ore prices, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

Ellison’s elevation to billionaire status comes after MinRes’ shares hit a record price high yesterday of $29.50 per share.

This pushed the Pilbara businessman into Australia’s billionaires club, which in 2019 was topped by fellow mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

MinRes achieved record production and profitability during the 2020 financial year, in a period Ellison described as “the most extraordinary year in the company’s history”.

The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation was up by 77 per cent compared with the 2019 financial year.

It finished the 2020 financial year with a revenue of $2.1 billion, up by 41 per cent from 2019.

The now-billionaire started his management career in 1979 when he founded Karratha Rigging, serving as managing director until its acquisition by Walter Wright Industries in 1982.

Ellison was subsequently appointed general manager of Walter Wright Industries for the Western Australia and Northern Territory regions.

In 1986 he then founded Genco Limited, which merged with Monadelphous Group in 1988 after two years of considerable growth.

In September 1988 he was elevated to managing director of the Monadelphous Group and helped it to regain relisting on the Australian Securities Exchange in late 1989.

Ellison went on to establish PIHA, a pipelining and general infrastructure company in 1992, which is one of the three original subsidiary companies of MinRes.

He is the founding shareholder of these three companies, PIHA, Crushing Services International and Process Minerals International.

Iron ore prices spiked to six year highs this week, to $US130 ($177), as the Chinese Government continues to release stimulus packages to boost post-COVID-19 development.

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