Rio Tinto Chief Executive Sam Walsh and Chinalco President Sun Zhaoxue signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Beijing on November 1 to explore a partnership “to bring forward the next era of mining technology aimed at delivering significant value and re-shaping industry best practices.” Under the MoU, the companies will draw on their respective strengths to expedite development of new mining technology and further develop Rio Tinto’s “Mine of the Future” program.

The collaboration brings together Rio Tinto’s leadership in mining innovation with the resources and expertise of Chinalco’s research and development centers. The goals of the partnership will include developing and deploying leading-edge technology to create safer working operations, improve environmental performance, increase the productivity of mining operations, and enhance the value of both companies by allowing new ideas to be developed and applied at a faster pace and lower cost. 

The arrangements contemplated by the MoU remain subject to the execution of a binding agreement.

Walsh said, “Together with Chinalco, we have the potential to deliver even more value for shareholders, by fully realizing our pipeline of technology and innovation projects and taking next generation technologies through to full commercialization and deployment.”

Chinalco Chairman Xiong Weiping said, “Chinalco embarks on a development path of transformation and innovation featuring the expansion from aluminum to comprehensive mining and from domestic to overseas markets. Chinalco and Rio Tinto have explored and set up a new model of partnership as two international companies. The technical cooperation is of great significance for improving efficiency, reducing resource and energy consumption, developing green and safe mines, achieving sustainable development of resources, and introducing innovation into economic growth. I hope this commercial cooperation approach of sincerity and mutual benefit can be widely applied into new-type partnerships among major international companies.”