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BHP Billiton today announced an extension of its long term joint venture relationship with ITOCHU Corporation (ITOCHU) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui).

Under the terms of the agreement, ITOCHU and Mitsui will invest approximately US$0.8 billion and US$0.7 billion respectively in shares and loans of BHP Iron Ore (Jimblebar) Pty Ltd, representing an eight per cent and seven per cent interest in the Jimblebar mining hub and resource.  The consideration includes a share of capital costs associated with the Jimblebar Mine Expansion project incurred to date.  The transaction is subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval and other customary conditions and is expected to be completed in the September 2013 quarter.

ITOCHU and Mitsui collectively hold a 15 per cent interest in BHP Billiton’s Western Australia Iron Ore current mine, rail and port infrastructure. This investment will align interests across the Western Australia Iron Ore supply chain and drive simplicity and flexibility.

BHP Billiton President Iron Ore, Jimmy Wilson, said: “We are pleased to extend our successful, long standing joint venture relationship with ITOCHU and Mitsui. The new Jimblebar mine will have initial production capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum (100 per cent basis) with future expansion potential.  Once fully operational this will bring Western Australia Iron Ore’s supply chain capacity to 220 million tonnes per annum (100 per cent basis).”

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