New finance chief for Rio as big mining shuffle goes on

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The Independent Online

The changing of the guard continued in the FTSE 100 mining industry as Rio Tinto appointed Chris Lynch, a former finance head at BHP Billiton, as its chief financial officer.

Mr Lynch, who was most recently chief executive at Australian toll operator Transurban, will replace Guy Elliott, who announced his retirement from Rio Tinto last year after more than 32 years at the miner.

Meanwhile, the Kazakhstan-focused copper producer Kazakhmys announced two top-level appointments, with the non-executive director Simon Heale appointed to replace Vladimir Kim as chairman and deputy chief financial officer Andrew Southam set to replace his boss Matthew Hird in the top finance job.

Mr Kim had announced at last year's shareholder meeting in May that he would be relinquishing his position within 12 months.

These appointments are the latest in a round of senior management changes at London-listed miners in the wake of a mining boom that resulted in overpriced acquisitions and spiralling costs, and led to multibillion-dollar write-offs and top-level resignations.

Recent or impending departures include Anglo American's chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, Rio Tinto's boss, Tom Albanese and BHP's finance director, Alex Vanselow.

Kazakhmys announced its shake-up alongside a trading statement that showed that its full-year profits tumbled by nearly a third to $1.36bn (£897m) as the miner was hit by weak prices and rising costs.

Meanwhile, revenues fell by 5.9 per cent to $3.35bn as the price of copper declined by 10 per cent over the year.