Rio Tinto and China’s Sinosteel Corp. have announced the continuation of negotiations over a second extension to Channar Mining’s iron ore joint venture (JV) in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. A signing by CEO Sam Walsh and Sinosteel officials at the Canberra House of Parliament formalized the phase.

The original Channar JV was inked in 1987, providing 200 million tons of output; two years ago witnessed an additional 50 million tons of production. “Channar was ground-breaking in Chinese steel,” said Walsh. “It’s one of China’s most successful partnerships with Australia;” Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Tony Abbott were in attendance, too.

The project, 60% owned and fully managed by Rio, lies 60 km south of the municipality of Tom Price; Sinosteel owns 100% offtake rights to the project’s produced ore, feeding into the Pilbara blend. Channar was one of China’s largest overseas investments and the first mineral resource operation of its kind outside the mainland.

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