London, and Tokyo (13 August 2010) - Leading international mining group Rio Tinto and diversified trading and investment company, Mitsui & Co.,Ltd.(Mitsui) today announced the opening of the Lao Sanxai Minerals Office in Vientiane.
Following the signing of an agreement with the Government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the grant of a Prospecting License, field activities and the first phase of the exploration programme commenced in February 2010.
Lao Sanxai Minerals Co. Ltd, jointly owned by Rio Tinto (70 per cent) and Mitsui (30 per cent) has been established to undertake the project.
The agreement covers an area of 484 km2 in the Sanxai District, Attapeu Province and Dakchung District, Sekong Province, Lao PDR.
Eric Finlayson, Head of Exploration, Rio Tinto said: "Under the terms of the agreement Rio Tinto and Mitsui have exclusive rights to prospect and explore for bauxite and related minerals in this area. The exploration programme will include extensive mapping and sampling activities, as well as social and environmental studies.
"Rio Tinto and Mitsui will work together to unlock value from bauxite deposits in this region, as well as foster regional development, employment opportunities and local business."
Masayuki Kinoshita, Executive Managing Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Mineral & Metal Resources Business Unit, Mitsui said: "Through our venture with Rio Tinto, we will strive to contribute to the social and economic development of the Lao PDR."
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
About Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Japan is one of the world's most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment and service enterprises.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. maintains a global network of 151 offices in 66 countries and has 461 subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. is multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields: Iron & Steel Products, Mineral & Metal Resources, Infrastructure Projects, Motor Vehicles, Marine & Aerospace, Chemicals, Energy, Foods & Retail, Consumer Services, Information, Electronics and Telecommunications, Financial Markets and Transportation Logistics.
This press release includes forward-looking statements about Mitsui. These forward-looking statements are based on the current assumptions and beliefs of Mitsui in light of the information currently available to it, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause Mitsui's actual results, performance, achievements or financial position to be materially different from any future results, performance, achievements or financial position expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to above include, but are not limited to, those contained in Mitsui's latest annual report on Form 20-F, which has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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