Tensions between China and Australia over the arrest of Rio Tinto executives have not deterred Western Australian premier Colin Barnett from courting mainland investments. State-owned China Railway Construction Corp, China Communications Construction and Sinosteel Corp, the mainland's largest iron ore trader, are in advanced talks over a multibillion-dollar mining and infrastructure development in Mr Barnett's state. The premier, who visited Beijing on Wednesday, was criticised by some commentators in Australia for reportedly downplaying the plight of the Rio executives. China Railway Construction and China Communications recently held 'very positive' talks with Oakajee Port & Rail about developments in the Mid West region of Western Australia, said Murchison, an Australian-listed mining firm. Murchison and Japan's Mitsubishi are 50-50 investors in Oakajee Port & Rail, the developer of a deepwater port at Oakajee and a connecting rail network, estimated to have cost A$4 billion (HK$25.33 billion). 'Oakajee Port & Rail has the rights to build ports and rail infrastructure in the Mid West, which is Australia's second-biggest iron ore producer after the Pilbara,' said Murchison managing director Trevor Matthews. 'There are lots of Chinese investments in iron ore mines in the Mid West, and there is an interest in getting the iron ore [shipped] to China.' Iron mines in the Mid West had received billions of dollars of investments from mainland companies, including more than A$2 billion from state-owned Sinosteel and Angang Steel, Mr Matthews said. China Railway Construction was in talks with Oakajee Port on strategic co-operation on the rail component of the Oakajee project, where it might supply rail equipment, said Mr Matthews. The cost of that equipment could run into hundreds of millions of Australian dollars, he estimated. China Communications was in talks with Oakajee Port to provide consultancy and design services for the port, said Mr Matthews. 'The development of Oakajee Port is a key project in Western Australia's and the nation's future. It also provides an unprecedented opportunity for Western Australian-Chinese-Japanese investment collaboration,' said Mr Barnett. '[Wednesday's] meeting was about welcoming people to be involved in the Oakajee development, and the message was well received. I encouraged Sinosteel to participate in the Oakajee project.'