Purpose: The aim of this research is to facilitate a better understanding of the causes, motivations and implications of the internationalisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and Non-state-owned enterprises (NSOEs) from China’s mining sector. Originality: Emerging market outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) from extractive industries presents an interesting challenge to established internationalisation theory, which largely evolved through research highlighting the manufacturing activities of large multinational corporations (MNEs) from developed economies. By drawing on established paradigms we have developed a conceptual framework, integrated with relevant propositions. Key literature: Several researchers propose that a special theory may need to be developed for Chinese OFDI and, specifically, for firms in extractive industries. Other researchers argue, however, that logical extensions of established internationalisation theories and concepts can be made, with the value being to highlight potential qualifications or consistencies with existing paradigms. Design/methodology: In order to test the proposed propositions, multiple case studies of Chinese mining SOEs and NSOEs will be undertaken. Interviews will be held within different levels of each corporation and will be targeted towards the key players in each firm’s internationalisation process and management. Research limitations/implications: Only the largest mining firms are included in the current sample set. Small to medium size firms mining firms could be an included in future research. Practical and social implications: As a result of escalating internationalisation Chinese mining companies have attracted more and more attention in global markets. Yet, as a rapid growth sector in an emerging economy, theoretical ‘guidelines’ are still sparse and strategic implications difficult to determine.