Rio Tinto has signed an agreement with Kazakhstan’s state-owned Tau-ken Samruk on joint prospecting and mining in the Central Asian state.

The 50:50 joint venture will explore for copper, gold, bauxite and iron ore in the country.

According to the agreement, Tau-Ken Samruk will supply rights and permissions, while Rio will contribute technology to help exploring minerals.

The miner previously said it would look outside Australia for investment if the Canberra government proceeds with a 40% tax on mining profits.

Mining investment in Kazakhstan heavily declined last year due to low commodity prices.