Rio Tinto has announced that the trial of four of its employees accused of committing commercial crimes will be held in China later this month.

The charges relate to receiving bribes and stealing commercial secrets and have led to the detention of the men since July last year.

Allegations of malpractice originally included the theft of state secrets in the midst of tensions between global miners and China’s steel industry over the price of iron ore.

These allegations were later downgraded to stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes from several Chinese steel enterprises.

The sessions on receiving bribes will be held in open court and the sessions on stealing commercial secrets in closed court from 22 March onwards, according to a statement by the miner.