China's third largest steelmaker WISCO signed an agreement with Australian Centrex Metals Ltd (CXM) on Monday for joint development of iron ore mines in southern Australia and other projects, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Under the agreement that has yet to be approved by the two governments, CXM's listed company will issue 15% more shares to Wuhan Iron $ Steel Inc (WISCO), making the Chinese company the second largest shareholder of the Australian company.

WISCO will pay A$216 million ($175.52 million) to gain 60% of the interests of the cooperation mine area, according to the agreement.

The cooperation ore mine covers about 600 sq km in southern Australia.

CMX was incorporated on 23 March 2001 based on an extensive tenement portfolio of over 2,000 square kilometers explore for iron ore on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.

Deng Qilin, general manager of WISCO, said the strategic cooperation was a win-win deal under the current financial crisis.