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Samancor Manganese ("Samancor"), owned 60% by BHP Billiton and 40% by Anglo American, announced today the successful conclusion of the due diligence process for a transaction with a Black Economic Empowerment company, Ntsimbintle Mining (Pty) Limited ("Ntsimbintle"), relating to its 100% owned Manganese mines, Wessels and Mamatwan, and associated prospecting rights in the Hotazel area in the Northern Cape.

In terms of the transaction Samancor will vend its Hotazel manganese mines and prospecting rights into Hotazel Manganese Mines (Pty) Limited ("HMM"), a new vehicle created for the purpose of effecting the transaction. Ntsimbintle will vend in portions of its prospecting rights contiguous to Samancor's Mamatwan and Wessels mines in exchange for a 9% interest in HMM. The transaction is subject to the approval of the Department of Minerals and Energy for the transfer of Ntsimbintle's prospecting rights and Samancor's mining and prospecting rights to HMM.

Ntsimbintle is a broad-based consortium made up of:
Safika Resources
Nkonjane
Wiphold
Northern Cape Women in Mining
Kgalagadi Development Trust
Natural Resources Empowerment Fund
Retrenched Workers Association
Hotazel Women's Association
Northern Cape Community Business Men

"HMM mines are amongst the world's best and are set on a strong growth path with strongly enhanced mine lives as a result of this transaction. This important transaction is the first step in our strategy to transfer 26% of our HMM business to BEE parties and we welcome the contribution that Ntsimbintle will undoubtedly make to the success of the growth strategy we have set for HMM. The transaction provides Ntsimbintle immediate ownership of strongly profitable assets and their associated cash flow whilst Samancor gains access to further resources and reserves, some of which can be immediately accessed from existing Samancor mine operations. This is undoubtedly the most sensible commercial arrangement for the development of the two sets of rights," said BHP Billiton's President: Manganese, Peter Beaven.

Saki Macozoma of Ntsimbintle said: "We welcome this partnership with Samancor, which is the leading manganese producer in the world. This is a mutually beneficial relationship which will hopefully ultimately see South Africa play a bigger role in the world manganese market."

Sabelo Macingwane of Ntsimbintle added "Northern Cape communities, who are shareholders in Ntsimbintle, now have a meaningful participation in the Hotazel Manganese Mines in the Northern Cape."

Vincent Maphai, the Chairman of BHP Billiton SA, added: "This transaction will facilitate the advancement of black economic empowerment in the Northern Cape . BHP Billiton is committed to the transformation and growth of the South African economy and we believe that transactions such as this, which include ownership, will enable us to contribute to that transformation."

"We are pleased to welcome Ntsimbintle as our partners in HMM. Anglo American's efforts have gone beyond just compliance, as empowerment is not only an important business imperative, but a demonstration of our commitment to the advancement of communities where we do business", said Philip Baum, Acting Anglo South Africa Chief Executive.

Samancor Manganese produces manganese ore from two mines at Hotazel in the Northern Cape Province, it produces manganese alloy at Metalloys a plant near Vereeniging in Gauteng and has a 51 per cent interest in Manganese Metal Company, a producer of electrolytic manganese metal located in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. Samancor Manganese is held 60 per cent by BHP Billiton and 40 per cent by Anglo American. In Australia the business produces ore at Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory (GEMCO) and manganese alloys in northern Tasmania (TEMCO). Both GEMCO and TEMCO are owned 60:40 by BHP Billiton and Anglo American. The company's products are exported to steel makers and alloyers across the globe.

 

Further information on BHP Billiton can be found on our Internet site: www.bhpbilliton.com

South Africa
Bronwyn Wilkinson
Head: Communications
Bronwyn.Wilkinson@bhpbilliton.com
Tel: +27-11-376-2154
Mobile: +27-82-419-8236

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