Allens Arthur Robinson has acted for Rio Tinto in a joint venture arrangement with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) to explore mainland China for world-class mineral deposits.
The arrangement, which was formalised on 1 June 2011 at a signing ceremony in Beijing, is subject to Chinese regulatory approvals. Once established, the joint venture will operate under the name Chinalco Rio Tinto Exploration Co., Ltd. (CRTX).
Under the joint venture arrangements, Chinalco will hold a 51 per cent interest in CRTX, with Rio Tinto holding the remaining 49 per cent.
Partner Scott Langford led the Allens team that advised long-standing client Rio Tinto on all stages of the arrangement, including on its non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinalco to establish the joint venture last year.
According to Langford, this agreement marks an important milestone for the two organisations, particularly as it further strengthens the relationship between Rio Tinto and both Chinalco and China generally.
"This agreement draws on the strengths of both organisations because it combines Rio Tinto's expertise with Chinalco's deep understanding of the Chinese exploration environment," he said.
"The firm is very pleased to once again be able to work with Rio Tinto on this joint venture, and to see it through from the MoU back in December, to its completion."
Special counsel Frank Fan, who leads Allens' Beijing office, acknowledged the importance to clients of law firms that are able to operate seamlessly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
"Our Beijing office has played a central role in the negotiation, discussion and completion of this agreement and it's an opportunity that the team here and I have enjoyed," said Fan.
CRTX's first priority will be copper exploration, with coal and potash among other commodities potentially considered at a later date.