Australian Miner Using China Ties to Source Virus Supplies

April 1, 2020

Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest has spent more than a decade feeding China’s steel-making boom — now he’s leveraging his ties there to source personal protection equipment (PPE) and medical supplies for the battle against the coronavirus Down Under.

Bloomberg News reports that Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation has pledged A$160 million (US$97 million) to source equipment from China, including 33 ventilators, more than 1 million face masks and hundreds of thousands of gloves, nasal swabs and coveralls.

A first aircraft loaded with the products is scheduled to leave Shanghai on Wednesday, April 1, bound for Perth and the logistics effort is being supported by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., the iron ore supplier founded by Forrest in 2003, which wins more than 90 percent of revenue from China and shipped its first cargo in 2008.

“The trusted relationships, procurement expertise and logistics knowledge of the FMG and Minderoo Foundation teams, have been fundamental in rapidly securing this vital equipment,” said Forrest.

Supplies will be distributed by health authorities in Forrest’s home state of Western Australia to hospitals, aged care providers and other frontline services, Minderoo said Wednesday in a statement.

Some medical professionals in Australia, just as in other nations, have raised concerns over a lack of sufficient PPE.

Photo credit: Mika Baumeister on Unsplash.

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