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Mining in China: Risks & Rewards

Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto © Copyright 2010 - all rights reserved
Rio Tinto

Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has largely benefited from China’s insatiable appetite for commodities, and while CEO Tom Albanese remains optimistic about China’s growth prospects, this comes at a trying time for the company.

Four of its employees have been indicted by Beijing on charges of bribery and stealing business secrets.

In a First on CNBC interview with Maria Bartiromo, Albanese declined to comment further on the case, hoping to “protect the legal process” but said the company was doing everything “given the constraints they have.”

Albanese also added that China is a crucial part of Rio’s business and doesn’t expect any change on that front.

Overall on China’s economy, Albanese’s view is that a lot of the focus in Beijing right now is trying to avoid a bubble and that China’s V-shaped recovery has benefited Rio Tinto. On the business front, trading activity hasn’t been stronger. Albanese said that, “across the board, China appears to be very strongly consuming the stuff we produce.”

Finally, Rio Tinto is working to convince EU regulators of the merits of its iron ore joint venture with rival BHP Billiton. Albanese said that the purpose of that joint venture was “to bring production together” as it will bring more “tons faster to the marketplace.”

Liza Tan contributed to this article.

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