WUHAN, July 7 (Xinhua) -- China's third largest steel maker, Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation (WISCO), completed a joint venture on Wednesday with Australian Centrex Metals Ltd corporation (CXM) to develop iron ore mines on south Australia's Eyre Peninsula.
WISCO paid 51.5 million Australian dollars (43.7 million U.S. dollars) to CXM for mineral exploitation rights and another 50 million Australian dollars to the joint venture to cover the cost of the first-phrase exploration, said sources of the central-China-based WISCO.
The joint project, with an estimated investment of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, is expected to annually produce 33 million tonnes of raw iron ore, along with 10 million tonnes of refined iron ore, the sources said.
With a controlling share of the new joint venture, WISCO would have the final say on the exploration and operation of the Australian iron ore mines.
CXM, a company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, owns several mining sites in south Australia. The project area with WISCO is located on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula and is believed to have deposits of 2.282 billion tonnes of iron ore.
With an average annual production of 30 million tons, WISCO ranks seventh among steel makers in the world on a production scale. However, WISCO receives 80 percent of its iron ore from overseas and is facing a survival crisis caused by the spike in iron ore prices on the international market.