Rio Tinto has signed a technical collaboration agreement with Minmetals as part of a new collaborative partnership in mineral exploration.

The development comes after a heads of agreement on global exploration collaboration was signed in June.

Based on the exploration collaboration, the companies reached a deal, agreeing on the principles and framework to implement potential partnership in global mineral exploration.

According to Rio Tinto, the latest agreement marks an important step to proceed with its international minerals exploration partnership with Minmetals.

Under the terms of the deal, the parties intend to jointly investigate and pursue mineral exploration opportunities both inside and outside China.

“The latest agreement marks an important step to proceed with its international minerals exploration partnership with Minmetals.”

The agreement was signed by Rio Tinto Australasia exploration director John Kilroe and China Minmetals exploration and development president Wang Jionghui.

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In a separate development, Rio Tinto has signed an agreement to extend its Channar mining joint venture (JV) with China’s Sinosteel.

Entailing an increased production totalling 290Mt, the agreement represents the third extension of the JV, which owns the Channar mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto will deliver an additional 10Mt of iron ore into the JV from Western Australia.

The company also signed an agreement with China’s Tsinghua University to extend the tenure of the Tsinghua-Rio Tinto Joint Research Centre for Resources, Energy and Sustainable Development.

The Joint Research Centre was established in 2012 to study, generate and share ideas and best practice for sustainable development.