Rio Tinto is to partner with Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) to take the next step in global commercialisation of the HIsmelt technology.

HIsmelt, short for high-intensity smelting, is the world's first commercial direct smelting process for making iron straight from the ore.

The technology smelts iron ore fines directly using non-coking coals, and offers significant economic and environmental benefits to the steel industry. The MoU will also involve the relocation of the existing Kwinana HIsmelt plant from Australia to India at JSPL's facility in Angul, Orissa.

The relocated plant will be fully owned by JSPL, and JSPL and Rio Tinto will work together to further develop and market the technology. JSPL is part of the $15bn Indian-based Jindal Group, currently producing 3Mt/y steel and 1800MW of power.

Rio Tinto is continuing its Kwinana site obligations, some of which apply to December 2012, in accordance with conditions set by the state regulators and Invest Australia.