Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), the state-owned mining firm whose US$19.5 billion investment in Anglo-Australian mining titan Rio Tinto Group was recently rebuffed, is discussing fresh investments in Western Australia, Bloomberg reported. Chinalco will “conduct metals prospecting activities in Western Australia and seek investment opportunities either by independent investment or joint ventures,” Chairman Xiong Weiping said Thursday at a conference in Beijing. Xiong on Wednesday met with Colin Barnett, who heads the state government of Western Australia. Barnett said he doesn’t favor a proposal floated by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton after the failed Chinalco bid to conduct an iron ore joint venture in Western Australia as he fears production in the state would be dominated by the new venture, and because customers – including China – are concerned. Barnett also met with officials from Sinosteel, China’s largest iron ore trader, and encouraged them to participate in a planned US$3.3 billion port and rail project in Western Australia.
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