Rio chief flags JV benefits

Rio chief Tom Albanese has said that a pairing of his company and BHP Billiton is needed to satisfy a huge increase in Chinese demand for iron ore.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese yesterday told an international economic conference in Perth that a pairing of his company and BHP Billiton is needed to satisfy a huge increase in Chinese demand for iron ore in the immediate future.

Albanese told the conference that China is expected to require more iron ore in the next four years than Western Australia has produced in its entire history and that the proposed partnership between the mining giants will be needed to meet the requirements.

“This joint venture will bring together West Australian iron ore assets for both companies,” he said.

“By working together, under a joint venture framework, we will be better positioned for future demand growth and this will capture substantial synergies for our shareholders.”

Albanese also warned that Western Australian mining operations must make sure they are capable of fulfilling the ever increasing Chinese demands or the State will risk losing billion of dollars.

“Because China has huge commodity needs for the future, it will buy and develop assets that are in competition with Australia if we fail to attract and encourage their investment here in Australia and also here in Western Australia,” he said.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.