One of Australia's top law firms has secured work on thelatest deal involving Rio Tinto and Chinese state-owned steel maker Chinalco.
Allens Arthur Robinson has acted for Rio Tinto on itsrecently announced binding agreement with Chalco, a subsidiary of the Chinalco,in relation to the Simandou iron ore project joint venture.
This followes a non-binding memorandum of understanding, signedin March this year to establish a joint venture covering the development of theSimandou iron ore project in Guinea.
As reported by The New Lawyer at the time, some speculatedthe deal could repair Sino-Australian relations. The venture marked a u-turnfor the companies, after the Anglo-Australian miner scrapped the $19.5 billinequity and asset tie-up with Chinalco.
Baker & McKenzie acted for Chinalco.
The JV agreement will cover the development and operation ofthe Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, including the planning, constructionand management of the mine and associated rail and port infrastructure, Allenssaid this week.
The project is considered to be the best-undeveloped ironore prospect in the world. Chalco will earn 44.6 per cent interest in theproject by sole funding expenditure of US$1.35 billion, the firm said.
The Allens team, led by partner Scott Langford, advised RioTinto for more than nine months on the transaction, spending considerable timebased in the firm's offices in Hong Kong and also Beijing.
The Allens team included senior lawyers from the firm's HongKong, Beijing and Shanghai offices.
“This binding agreement culminates what has been a lot ofhard work, so we are thrilled with the result,” said Langford.
“One of Rio Tinto's top priorities is to develop itsrelationship and business links with China, so we are delighted to be able toassist our client in establishing this ground-breaking joint venture. Even morepleasing is the fact that the arrangement progresses and builds on Rio Tinto'srelationship with its largest shareholder, Chinalco,” he said.