The chairman of Cliffs, Australia's fourth biggest iron ore miner, says it is not interested in pursuing opportunities in higher-risk areas such as Africa, saying "we are just not built for that".
Addressing the Diggers & Dealers forum this morning, US-based Joe Carraba also spoke of an increasingly challenging world to operate in, with rising regulatory risk, including in Australia, and pressures on containing costs.
But Mr Carraba also said that despite the global economic uncertainty Cliffs expected China to continue to underwrite demand for steel making commodities such as iron ore.
He said the economic volatility would deter some companies from approving new projects while the inflationary cost pressures and approvals and execution delays would further hamper the emergence of new iron ore supplies.
Cliffs, through its WA subsidiary Portman, produces about 11.5 million tonnes of iron ore a year.
Mr Carraba said finding more ore across its Yilgarn operations was challenging but Cliffs had managed to retain its resource base despite more than doubling iron ore production since the Portman takeover in 2006.
In an upbeat comment on Australia's inflationary environment, which continues to cause havoc with many resources developments, Mr Carraba said: "There certainly is inflation here, much more than in the US and Canada (where Cliffs also has mines)."
"But I would be happy to face more inflation in those two parts of the world if we had the same (economic) growth as we have in Australia."