Rio Tinto has started outsourcing its legal work to India in the hope of cutting its annual legal costs of about $100m by up to 20%, The Australian newspaper reports.

Rio, in partnership with legal outsourcing group CPA Global, has hired 12 lawyers in Delhi to perform tasks such as analysing legal documents and drafting contracts, which would otherwise be carried out by UK law firms.

Rio, which has 100 lawyers globally, said the Indian team is seven times cheaper than its UK counterparts and has saved the company about $1m in just one month, the paper reports.