BEIJING, Mar. 23 -- Tom Albanese, president and chief executive officer of mining giant Rio Tinto Group, said Monday the company was committed to repairing and strengthening commercial ties with China.
The world's second-largest iron ore supplier's ties with China could be traced back 50 years as it had provided aluminum to China in the 1960s, Albanese said at the China Development Forum 2010 in Beijing.
He said it was a "pity" that his company lost a chance to forge a strategic partnership with Chinese State-owned aluminum producer Chinalco last year.
Rio Tinto declined Chinalco's offer of a $19.5-billion cash injection in June last year and decided to raise capital through a $15-billion rights issue.
Albanese said he would be glad to see the two companies agree to build a joint venture to develop a rich iron ore deposit in Guinea.
Chinalco is poised to invest $1.4 billion in the Simandou project to take a 47-percent stake in the joint venture.
The company's ties with China were strained last year partly because of Chinalco's rejected deal and the arrest of four Rio Tinto employees.
The employees, including Australian national Stern Hu, were detained in August on allegations of bribery and stealing commercial secrets.
They are to stand trial in the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court from Monday to Wednesday, according to a statement posted on the court's website.