Chinalco and Rio Tinto have formalized a joint venture to explore for mineral deposits in mainland China. The agreement is subject to Chinese regulatory approvals. Once established, the joint venture will operate under the name Chinalco Rio Tinto Exploration Co. Ltd. (CRTX). Chinalco will hold 51% and Rio Tinto will hold 49% of the joint-venture company. CRTX’s immediate priority will be copper exploration, with coal and potash among other commodities potentially to be considered at a later date.
Formalization of the CRTX joint venture followed signing of a non-binding agreement between the two companies in December 2010. At that time, the companies said they intended to select three to five large exploration areas for initial focus, with the potential for additional regions to be added at a later date. Chinalco will nominate three directors to the CRTX board, including the chairman, and will also appoint the chief financial officer, the deputy general manager and the compliance supervisor. Rio Tinto will appoint two directors and the general manager, who will be responsible for day-to-day operations. The companies expect to establish headquarters in Beijing.