Mining Giants to Keep London Digs After Brexit, Ex-Rio Boss Says

  • Tom Albanese joins Polyus and Evraz in backing the city
  • Albanese’s Vedanta pressing ahead with $1 billion zinc bet

The world’s biggest mining companies probably will retain their U.K. headquarters, even after the country voted to leave the European Union, according to the chief executive officer of Vedanta Resources Plc.

“The U.K. offers very unique benefits for resource companies,” Tom Albanese, who before taking the helm at Vedanta was CEO of Rio Tinto Group, said in an interview to appear on Bloomberg TV Canada Friday. “Most people in the U.K., certainly in London, have a broader world view of things than virtually any other country in the world and that will always benefit those resource companies that want to be in the U.K.”

Voters backed the decision to leave the EU by 52 percent to 48 percent in a referendum on Thursday. That drove the pound to the lowest in more than 30 years and sent shudders through equity and commodity markets around the world. Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc said the result may prompt them to move thousands of jobs out of London.

That’s a path unlikely to be followed by many of the the world’s biggest miners, Albanese said. London is the corporate home or the primary stock listing of resource giants including BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio and Glencore Plc. Vedanta, which is India’s biggest metals producer, also has a London listing.

Polyus Agrees

Russian gold producer Polyus PJSC also said Friday that London will remain the top financial center for mining companies and steelmaker Evraz Plc said it would keep its listing in the city. Still, Nordgold NV, the Russian miner controlled by billionaire Alexey Mordashov, may look to get a primary listing of its shares in Toronto instead of London after the vote, Chief Executive Officer Nikolai Zelenski said by telephone.

While the U.K.’s EU departure is an historic event, events in China will continue to be the main drivers for metal markets, Albanese said.

Vedanta is investing $1 billion as it seeks to expand production of zinc, which has rallied more than any other industrial metal this year as mines closed and stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange slid to a seven-year low.

While new supplies will limit copper’s gains for now, zinc probably will continue to outperform, Albanese said.

“Zinc has been leading the way and it will lead the way,” he said. “Demand has been pretty good, supply has definitely contracted.”

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