The Rio Tinto and Chinalco joint venture (JV) for exploration in China - Chinalco Rio Tinto Exploration Co. Ltd. (CRTX) - has been officially registered as a business in China.
The registration, approved by China's Industrial and Commercial Administration, clears CRTX to start conducting its business in China and exploring mineral deposits.
The JV's initial priority will be exploring for copper, with plans to expand into coal and potash in the future.
Rio Tinto managing director China Ian Bauert said "Getting the green light for CRTX to start operations is a major milestone in the expanding partnership between Rio Tinto and Chinalco. The JV has the potential to create valuable opportunities for both parties.
"China is a vast country rich in minerals and it has the geological pedigree to produce significant world-class deposits. Exploration work carried out over past decades is a rich source of data and experience on which to build. With Rio Tinto's industry-leading technology and global mining experience, the exploration JV will be able to drawn on the two parties' strengths to achieve our common goal."
CRTX chairman Wang Dongsheng said "This is a significant step for Chinalco and Rio Tinto's cooperation, and establishing CRTX is a major move by Chinalco to implement its strategic transformation.
"Chinalco is comprehensively promoting the new mechanism of geological prospecting as it aligns with initiatives from the Ministry of Land and Resources. Drawing on the integrated advantages of Chinalco and Rio Tinto as well as China and the West in resources exploration, the JV will focus on prospecting and deep exploration of metallogenic belts in a complex landscape. It will also use world-class mining resources to mutually develop and enhance China's domestic resources supply capabilities."
Rio Tinto and Chinalco signed the official JV exploration agreement in June 2011.
Chinalco holds a 51 per cent interest in the JV and Rio Tinto holds a 49 per cent interest. Chinalco nominates three directors including the chairman. Rio Tinto appoints the chief executive officer and two directors.