BHP has appointed Edgar Basto as president of Minerals Australia, effective 1 July 2020. He will be responsible for BHP’s iron ore and nickel operations in Western Australia, metallurgical and energy coal in Queensland and New South Wales, and copper in South Australia.
Mr Basto has been the acting president of operations for Minerals Australia since Mike Henry was announced as chief executive in November 2019. From 2016 to 2019, Mr Basto was asset president for Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO).
BHP’s Australian minerals business has a workforce of more than 40,000 people, annual EBITDA of approximately US$16 billion, and last financial year contributed nearly US$30 billion to the Australian economy.
Mr Henry said: “Edgar’s leadership and experience will make BHP’s Australian minerals operations safer, lower cost, more productive and more reliable. He is passionate about the role we play in communities and the responsibility we have to those who both rely on and support BHP to create social value through our activities.
“Edgar has a track record of delivery. WAIO has regularly delivered production records and reduced costs by 15 per cent since 2016,” he continued. “Under Edgar’s leadership, BHP became the lowest-cost major iron ore producer in the world. At the same time, he has forged stronger relationships in the Pilbara and in Perth.”
Mr Basto has held senior leadership roles across a range of commodities including iron ore, copper, coal and nickel, and has deep technical capability in both mining and smelting operations.
Originally from Colombia, Mr Basto has a Bachelor of Applied Science (metallurgical engineering) from the Universidad Industrial de Santander. He joined BHP in 1989, and held senior operational roles in Colombia and Peru.
Mr Basto moved to Melbourne in 2006 as BHP’s global head of health, safety and environment. From 2009 to 2015, he was based in Chile as BHP’s chief operating officer - Base Metals and then asset president - Escondida – the world’s largest copper mine – a role he held for five of those years.
Mr Basto has been based in Perth since 2016, and was president of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia for two years between 2018 and 2020.