29/05/2012 - 12:51

Rio/Sinosteel reach 200m tonne milestone

29/05/2012 - 12:51

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Rio/Sinosteel reach 200m tonne milestone

Rio Tinto and Sinosteel are celebrating a huge milestone at their Channar iron ore joint venture in the Pilbara, with the 200 millionth tonne of iron ore from the mine sent on its way to China yesterday.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Sam Walsh said the milestone was particularly important, given current economic uncertainty abroad.

“It is of great significance not only for both companies, but for China and Australia,” Mr Walsh said in a statement.

“We need to remind ourselves that the Pilbara was not always the centre of so much global investment and trading activity as is the case today.”

The Channar joint venture was formed in 1987, to develop the Channar mine, which is located around 20 kilometres south east of Paraburdoo.

Sinosteel Corporation president Jia Baojun said the joint venture was China's first significant offshore investment, and has always been viewed as a template project for Australia and China.

“Twenty five years ago, iron ore from Australia was not well accepted by the Chinese market,” Mr Jia said.

“It was the hard work by both JV partners that opened the door of the Chinese market for iron ore exports from Australia.

“Today, Australia has become the No. 1 iron ore exporting country to China. This would not have been possible without the great contribution from both partners.”

The shipment containing the 200 millionth tonne of ore is expected to arrive in China by mid-June.

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