The head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore division said the firm is considering a partnership with Chinese steel and construction companies to develop a West African iron ore mine, the Financial Times reported. In an interview with the paper, Sam Walsh said one option for developing the US$6 billion mine would be to bring in a Chinese partner. Such a deal would be the largest between Rio Tinto and China, which is the company’s largest customer. Earlier this year, Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) and Alcoa bought a 9% stake in Rio Tinto. Recent reports have suggested China is pursuing a similar stake in rival miner BHP Billiton.