THE DISTILLERY: Ashby Outer here

Jotters ponder the future of BHP Billiton's Outer Harbour project after iron ore chief Ian Ashby's departure.

After six years presiding over monumental expansions at BHP Billiton, the company's iron ore chief, Ian Ashby, has called it quits. Taxing as his role must have been, Ashby's resignation does come at a strange time, with his giant Outer Harbour project in Western Australia just months away from board approval, prompting one jotter to examine the likely fate of the $20 billion proposal. Elsewhere, one commentator bets Gina Rinehart has inadvertantly killed her chances at a seat on Fairfax's board, as another is heartened by new moves to get intellectual property rights recognised in China. And finally, the commentariat seizes on the Australian Stock Exchange's 25th birthday to explore what's next for the company, and Australian traders.

But first, The Australian Financial Review's Matthew Stevens waves goodbye to BHP's outgoing iron ore boss, Ian Ashby, and has some ideas about what might happen to his huge Outer Harbour project under the division's new head, Jimmy Wilson.

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