Digging deep for mining knowledge

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When it comes to prospecting for investment bankers, it seems there's plenty of activity under way in the Australian mining sector, and much of it remains focused in Melbourne.

As the home of BHP Billiton, the world's largest miner, Rio Tinto and others, it makes sense that any recruitment of bankers with a mining focus is happening in the southern Australian capital.

This helps explain why Citigroup has recently relocated its metals and mining investment banking team from Sydney to Melbourne, headed by Chris Fraser.

A spokeswoman for Citigroup says the relocation reflected the level of M&A activity in the mining sector generally, with BHP vying to take over Rio, and other recent deals the bank has been involved in such as Xstrata's acquisition of Resources Pacific and the Xinifex purchase of Allegiance Mining.

Luke Heath, director of Chandler Heath, says consolidation in the mining and resources space will continue - and that means banks will need to boost their sector teams.

"There's going to be ongoing consolidation in that space and you've got a combination of corporate but also sovereign wealth funds interested in them," Heath says.

Brendon Jukes, senior consultant at Derwent Executive, says the resources market is still very hot. "We're definitely still seeing an appetite for recruitment in investment banking across a range of levels in the metals and mining area."

Jukes says there is also demand among the mining companies which have their own in-house mergers and acquisitions teams. He says the investment banks potentially look at outsiders, such as people with good transactional experience in metals and mining who have been part of a corporate M&A team.

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