Mining Heavyweight Rio Tinto Eyes China in Competitive Iron Ore Market

Published Date : May 29, 2014

British-Australian mining and metals corporation Rio Tinto is looking to strengthen ties with China in an increasingly competitive iron ore market. The miner, which is the second-largest in the world, made its intentions of forging strong ties with the Chinese industry known. China is the biggest steelmaker in the world.

According to the company’s CEO Sam Walsh, who has made nearly 50 visits to China, the continued industrialization and urbanization in China is expected to lead to a buoyant demand for steel over the next few years. The company is optimistic about a large market existing for its products in the Chinese market. 

Walsh was appointed CEO of the company in January 2013, taking over from Tom Albanese. Rio Tinto was in the news as it wrote off nearly USD 22 billion over a two-year period.

According to Walsh, the core strategy of his company in the Chinese market will maintain status quo with the focus remaining on cost-cutting, commitment to high-quality product supply, and a dedication to the market.

Rio Tinto reported that in 2013 it produced 266 million tons of iron ore, registering a 5% increase. Nearly one third of the company’s revenue comes from Chinese consumers. Many Chinese steel mills demand higher-grade ore for their manufacturing operations. The country’s government has strengthened its focus on factory emission regulations and environmental rules after widespread concerns of pollution and smog in urban centers such as Beijing.

Customs figures state that in 2013, China imported 819 million tons of iron ore, marking a 10.2% year-on-year increase.