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Confirmation of Preliminary Discussions

20 August 2004

Number 27/04

BHP Billiton confirms that it has held preliminary discussions with representatives of the state government of Orissa in India about options for its iron ore business.  Those discussions were held jointly with the Korean steel-maker POSCO.

While the proposal is in the very early stages of development, concepts presented to the government included the construction of a steel plant and port facility and the development of an iron ore mine.  

While any joint proposal, were it to proceed to the next stage, might involve all of these components, BHP Billiton’s interest would be limited to the supply of steel-making raw materials and associated materials-handling facilities and infrastructure to the steel industry in Orissa.   BHP Billiton emphasises that the discussions have been preliminary only.  The proposal has received considerable attention in Orissa because of the impact any development would have on the local economy.

For further information contact:

Australia
Jane Belcher, Investor Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 3952  Mobile: +61 417 031 653
email: Jane.H.Belcher@bhpbilliton.com

Tania Price, Media Relations
Tel: +61 3 9609 3815  Mobile: +61 419 152 780
email: Tania.Price@bhpbilliton.com

United Kingdom
Mark Lidiard, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4156
email: Mark.Lidiard@bhpbilliton.com

Ariane Gentil, Media Relations
Tel: +44 20 7802 4177
email: Ariane.Gentil@bhpbilliton.com

United States
Francis McAllister, Investor Relations
Tel: +1 713 961 8625  Mobile: +1 713 480 3699
email: Francis.R.McAllister@bhpbilliton.com

South Africa
Michael Campbell, Investor & Media Relations
Tel: +27 11 376 3360  Mobile: +27 82 458 2587
email: Michael.J.Campbell@bhpbilliton.com