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Rio Tinto lauds country's advantages

By ZHENG XIN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-29 10:53
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A view of the booth of Rio Tinto during the first China International Supply Chain Expo in Beijing, Nov 28, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

China's resilient supply chains have given multinational companies strong confidence to deepen their market development amid the improved business environment in the country in recent years, a top executive of Rio Tinto said.

China, as a powerful engine of global growth with a steadily recovering economy, is a pivotal force for global manufacturing and trading, as well as an important stabilizer in the global supply chain, said Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto's chief commercial officer, on Tuesday.

China is not only the largest market for Rio Tinto, but also an increasingly important source of business partnerships, talent and technology, Barrios said on the sidelines of the first China International Supply Chain Expo in Beijing.

Rio Tinto is currently China's largest iron ore supplier with around 250 million metric tons of shipments every year. It also provides key products such as copper, bauxite, alumina, borate, salt and other minerals to the country. Rio Tinto has purchased over $14 billion worth of Chinese goods and services since 2012, according to Barrios.

More than half of the company's conveyor belts used in its mines in the Australian Pilbara region are provided by Chinese company Wuxi Boton Technology Co Ltd, which also supplies Rio Tinto's operations in Mongolia and Canada.

Most rail cars that Rio Tinto uses at its mines in Western Australia are from China's CRRC Qiqihar Rolling Stock, a CRRC subsidiary in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, he said.

The company also buys raw materials and equipment from China to support production in Canada, Australia and South Africa. This is in addition to sourcing engineering projects from Chinese companies for major projects such as Simandou, a high-grade iron ore development in Guinea, Africa, he added.

China, which has proactively opened its market to the outside world, has become a primary trading partner of countries and regions across the world, said Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute.

As China has been leading in the development of emerging technologies and industries, from electric vehicles to solar power, multinational corporations such as Rio Tinto — with the advantage of its local resources and market potential — have been stepping up cooperation with China in supply chain in recent years, Luo said.

"China is leading green technology development in multiple areas globally and we see great potential for further collaboration. We will also continue to conduct research and development with partners in China to jointly explore applicable technologies and decarbonization solutions for the industry's low-carbon transition," said Barrios.

"We are committed to becoming a partner of choice in China's high-quality development agenda, constantly providing high-quality and sustainable materials that China needs."

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