28/01/2010 - 00:00

Baker building bridges of understanding

28/01/2010 - 00:00


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MINING was the one industry Jyn Sim Baker was determined to avoid

Baker building bridges of understanding

MINING was the one industry Jyn Sim Baker was determined to avoid.

Growing up in the historic Malaysian gold mining capital of Bau, the industry held no appeal for the young lawyer, who now heads the resources arm of Singaporean logistics conglomerate IMC Group.

“When I left Bau I told my mum I didn’t want anything to do with mining, ever,” she laughs. “Famous last words.”

But after signing up a mining company as an early major client of her own law practice in Malaysia, she was hooked.

“When I was young, mining was so not glamorous … now I thoroughly enjoy it and wouldn’t have it any other way,” Ms Baker told WA Business News.

Today, the Perth-based chief executive of IMC Resources manages a rapidly growing portfolio of resources assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars across the region.

Ms Baker has also been at the forefront of the burgeoning relationship between WA companies and China.

On moving to Perth in 2004 she was appointed an executive director, then chief executive, of Kingstream Steel successor Midwest Corporation.

It is a source of pride that she guided Midwest from cast-off to iron ore miner after attracting Chinese giant Sinosteel as a partner in 2005.

Ms Baker left Midwest for IMC in 2006, but the strong relationship she helped forge with Sinosteel culminated in its $1.3 billion takeover of Midwest in 2008. It was then the biggest contested overseas takeover ever completed by a Chinese company.

As a native Mandarin speaker, Ms Baker says acting as a “bridge” between Australian and Chinese parties has been important in her career development.

“Being conversant with both the East and West has stood me in good stead,” she said. “It’s all about understanding what your partner requires and what your partner expects from a deal.”

Though women are still a minority among the senior ranks of the resources industry, Ms Baker said she rarely noticed.

“The only time I notice it is not when I am at work, but when I go to functions,” she said. “Most of the time you are just focused on doing your job.”



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