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Rio Tinto extends and establishes joint ventures in China

Publishing Date
03 Dec 2010 11:35am GMT
Mining Journal
Rio Tinto and Sinosteel Corp have extended their Channar Mining joint venture in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The new agreement will lead the way for a further 50Mt/y of iron ore to be produced, Rio Tinto said.

The joint venture (Rio Tinto 60%, Sinosteel 40%) owns the Channar mine, which is located 60km south of Tom Price and managed by Rio Tinto.

Under the agreement, Sinosteel has 100% take-off rights for the Pilbara Blend product (into which Channar ore feeds).

The original Channar agreements for the production of 200Mt were signed in 1987. According to Rio Tinto, at the current production rate of 10Mt/y, it is expected the 200Mt of the original joint venture will be produced in the first quarter of 2012.

Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto’s head of iron ore, said the company “first sent a shipment of iron ore to China in 1973 and the proven strength of a mutually-rewarding partnership built on those early days has stood the test of time, as now reflected in this extension”.

The extension was sealed at a ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, and was attended by senior executive from Rio Tinto and Sinosteel, along with Chinese government officials and the Australian Ambassador to China.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto and Aluminium Corp of China (Chinalco) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an exploration joint venture in China.

Rio Tinto said the joint venture has been set up to explore mainland China for world-class mineral deposits and is expected to come into operation in the first half of next year.

The joint venture is aiming to select between three and five large-area exploration projects, with the potential for additional region to be added at a later date. Under the agreement, Chinalco will hold a 51% interest and Rio Tinto will hold 49%.

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