Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Rio Tinto expects China's resources demand to rise

Yandicoogina mine, Western Australia
Rio Tinto supplies vast quantities of iron ore to China

Mining firm Rio Tinto has said that China's demand for iron ore, copper, coal and aluminium will increase dramatically during the next 15 years.

The Anglo-Australian mining company then expects India to become the biggest consumer of such resources.

Rio made the comments in an annual report that was upbeat about its prospects for increased production.

Earlier this year the firm reported that its profit for 2009 had fallen by 14% following lower commodity prices.

Rio chief executive Tom Albanese said that he was optimistic about long-term growth prospects, given China's anticipated demand.

"India is expected to follow, supporting a further potential wave of strong commodity demand," he added.

Troubled relations

Separately, reports suggest that Rio Tinto is in "advanced" talks with China's Chinalco to work together on a mining project in Guinea.

Relations between the firm and Beijing have suffered in recent months.

In June last year, Rio scrapped a $19.5bn Chinalco in favour of a tie-up with rival giant BHP Billiton.

And four Rio workers have been indicted in China on charges of bribery and violating commercial secrets.

Australian citizen Stern Hu, Rio Tinto's lead iron ore negotiator in China, and Chinese nationals Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yon have been in detention since July last year.

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