Two Chinese executives have been jailed for leaking steel industry secrets to the four former Rio Tinto executives imprisoned for bribery, reports Reuters.

The mining giant's ex-employee Stern Hu, an Australian national who headed its iron ore operations in China, and three Chinese colleagues are serving sentences of up to 14 years for stealing commercial secrets and taking bribes.

Two other men have now been jailed as the sources of some of the leaks after a closed-door trial in March, it has emerged.

Tan Yixin, once tipped to head Chinese steel-maker Shougang, was jailed at the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People's Court for three and a half years and fined RMB300,000 ($44000, a court official told Reuters.

Wang Hongjiu, shipping manager of Laiwu Steel in Shandong, was jailed for four years and fined RMB400,000 ($59000).

They were accused of revealing commercial secrets such as steel production costs and iron ore inventories, according to local reports.

The information could have benefited Rio Tinto during contract price negotiations with steel mills in China.

Rio Tinto, the second largest miner in the world, sacked the four over their ‘deplorable behaviour’ in March