Rio Tinto has appointed Danny Goeman to act as the company’s principle iron ore benchmark price negotiator in the Asian market.
An internal staff message describing the change has found its way into several news outlets over the weekend.
Goeman, currently the general manager of marketing for Rio Tinto Iron Ore Asia, will take over the responsibility from Iron Ore Asia president Will Malaney.
He will continue to report to Malaney and will relocate from Perth to Singapore in January.
In the note, the company’s iron ore managing director of sales and marketing Ian Bauert, said the restructure was designed to address the increasing complexities of the Asian market.
“In this role, Danny’s principal responsibility will be to lead iron ore price negotiations on behalf of Hamersley Iron,” he said.
The move comes after a tumultuous year for the global iron ore market.
The price negotiations broke down in the middle of the year, after the China Iron and Steel Association, the then representative of that country’s steel producers, demanded a larger discount than the 33% agreed to by Korean and Japanese mills.
The largest iron ore producers, BHP Billiton, Rio and Brazilian miner Vale, all refused the demand.
Four China-based Rio executives, including Australian-citizen Stern Hu, were detained in early-July on allegations of espionage.
There was speculation in the media that the arrests were a get square for not acquiescing to the discounts.
The four are still awaiting trial, albeit on the lesser charges of bribery and obtaining commercial secrets. Benchmark negotiations for next year’s prices are expected to begin later this month.
China’s largest steel producer, Baosteel, has replaced the China Iron and Steel Association as the country’s lead negotiator.