Rio Tinto, Sinosteel plan second extension at Channar

Rio Tinto and China’s Sinosteel have agreed to extend their Channar iron ore mining joint venture in Australia.

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The companies signed a heads of agreement to keep mining together after 27 years of cooperation in the Pilbara.

If agreed, this would be the second extension. The joint venture produced 200 million tonnes of iron ore in its first phase from 1987 to 2010, and is in a second phase of 50 million tonnes that is due to be completed during 2016.

The Channar mine produced about 8.4 million tonnes of Hamersley fines in the first nine months of 2014.

Rio Tinto, which holds a 60% share of the joint venture, said it hopes to conclude details of the second extension before the expiry of the second stage.

"The Channar joint venture was a ground-breaking partnership formed in the early stages of the development of the Chinese steel industry,” Rio Tinto ceo Sam Walsh said at a signing ceremony overseen by Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and Chinese president Xi Jinping.

"It is now one of China’s longest-running and most successful partnerships with Australia and a model for economic co-operation between our two countries,” he said.

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