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Rio Tinto says Asian borates demand will keep growing
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

A Rio Tinto Plc chief executive says Asian demand for borates will continue to grow strongly, after tripling in the first 10 years of this century.

Alan Davies, chief executive of Rio Tinto Diamonds and Minerals, was speaking as the mining and minerals giant opened a new technology center in China.

Borates - the generic name for a large number of boron-containing oxoanions - are found in products such as high-tech glass used in flat screen televisions and laptops, fiberglass insulation and fertilizers.

Borates could be essential in promoting higher standards of living and addressing energy and food shortages as China's economy enters a mid-cycle development, Davies, said, in an interview today in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.

He was opening a US$4 million Asia Technology Center there to serve the growing market for borates in Asia.

The facility provides internal capabilities in glass and ceramics, metals and advanced materials and agricultural and specialty chemicals to support Rio Tinto expansion in Asia.

Asia is the largest and fastest growing market for borates in the world, accounting for 50 percent of global demand, said Liu Xiaoling, president and chief executive officer of Rio Tinto Minerals.

The company has a 35-40 percent share in the global refined borates market and about 20 percent in China, she added.

Rio Tinto is operating a facility in the port city of Changshu, Jiangsu, to receive and pack borates produced from its primary borax mine and refineries in Boron, California.

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